Marc Anthony

He’s recognized the world over as the multi-million album selling king of Salsa, but those who know Marc Anthony best, know that there’s nothing more important to than family. The singer treasures his loved ones, he adores spending quality time with his nearest and dearest - and he knows better than anyone not to take them for granted.

Marc – pictured with his father and siblings Micheal, Yolanda and Sussie – lost his sister Maribel to brain cancer when she was just nine years old

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Marc grew up in East Harlem as the youngest child of eight children born to Puerto Rican parents Guillermina Quiñones and Felipe Muñiz. His happy childhood was marked by a family tragedy, however, when his sister Maribel died of brain cancer at just nine years old. Understandably, the sad loss affected marc deeply and stayed with him for the rest of his life.

The family tragedy was at the front of Marc’s mind many years later after he married Jennifer Lopez and the pair became parents to twins Max and Emme. During a heart-stopping moment, the husband-and-wife team was struck with panic days after welcoming the babies when they discovered a mysterious lump on their little girl’s head.

The family tragedy was on Marc's mind days after welcoming twins Max and Emme with JLo when the husband-and-wife team found a lump on their little girl's head

Speaking about the health scare to CNN, JLo recalled: “I just remember that feeling. If something is wrong with that baby… I’m gonna die. I remember looking at Marc and, 'We should call the doctor' ... I started panicking a little bit. We were thinking, 'Did somebody drop her when we weren't looking? ... I just remember looking at him and saying if this baby, if Emme's not going to be OK ... I'm not going to be OK."

Marc, she remembers, was no calmer. "He's like, 'I'm not going to be OK. None of us are going to be OK." The duo rushed Emme to the hospital, and thankfully everything turned out OK. But the incident got them both thinking about families out there who wouldn’t be so lucky, and may not have access to great health care. Moved by the thought, they were inspired to set up the Maribel Foundation – named after Marc’s late sister – to provide pediatric care to those in need.

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Marc spoke about the non-profit organization – which was renamed the Lopez Family Foundation after his split with Jennifer – when he was recognized for his work in the fight against the disease by organization Voices Against Brain Cancer (VABC). “As you may or may not know, I lost my sister Maribel to brain cancer – she was just nine years old,” he said during his acceptance speech. “My family started the Maribel foundation in her honor. And we have been advocating for better healthcare availability to women, children, regardless of their ability to pay. We want everyone to have a fighting chance."

The star – pictured with Max, Emme and his papa – treasures his family and knows better than anyone not to take them for granted

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Marc continued: “I know first-hand just how devastating brain tumors are and how much it affects the family and I share VABC’s goal of finding a cure so that no family has to suffer in the way we did.” In his speech, he also recognized how offering support and comfort to those going through the difficult process of dealing with cancer is vitally important. "There are support systems helping patients and caregivers in ways which the best drugs just can't. That is a service which just can not be measured,” he said.

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