Terrence Howard and an image of his mother
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Before Terrence Howard reignited his star status as Lucious Lyon on Empire, the actor participated in the upcoming Ken Burns documentary Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies. The documentary, which is based on the book written by Siddhartha Mukherjee, aims to shed light on cancer and those affected by it.

Howard, who lost his mother to colon cancer when she was 50, appears in the documentary produced by Redglass Pictures and commissioned for use by Burns. Howard talks about how the cancer affected his mother as well as him. The emotional piece gives the viewer a look at a side of Howard many may not see in his on-screen work.

In an interview about the documentary, Burn stated that Howard’s piece was filmed a year before Empire premiered. “So it was not in anticipation of Empire, but in anticipation—as in every choice that we’ve made—of a good story, well told and honorably told.”

Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies airs on PBS March 30-April 1.