October 3, 2022
NBC’s Richard Engel Announces His 6-Year-Old Son, Henry, Has Passed Away

The dreaded day has arrived for Richard Engel and his family.

The NBC News Chief Foreign Correspondent took to Twitter Thursday to share the heartbreaking news that his son, Henry Thomas Engel, whom he shares with wife Mary Forrest, has passed. He explained in his post:

“Our beloved son Henry passed away. He had the softest blue eyes, an easy smile and a contagious giggle. We always surrounded him with love and he returned it, and so much more.”

See the full post (below):

Just 6 years old… Unimaginable.

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It was the end of a five-year battle little Henry has been fighting with Rett Syndrome, a rare illness made even rarer by the fact he, as a boy, had it. The International Rett Syndrome Foundation describes the syndrome as:

“A rare genetic neurological disorder that occurs almost exclusively in girls and leads to severe impairments, affecting nearly every aspect of the child’s life: their ability to speak, walk, eat, and even breathe easily.”

According to the National Health Service, Rett Syndrome affects roughly one in every 12,000 girls born each year, and is seen even less frequently among boys. The affliction has no known cure as of now. So sad.

Richard followed up his post with an additional one, explaining:

“Researchers are making amazing progress using Henry’s cells to help cure RETT Syndrome so others don’t have to endure this terrible disease.”

See that full post (below):

The journalist shared an update on his son’s condition back in May of this year, tweeting that he had “taken a turn for the worse,” adding:

“His condition progressed and he’s developed dystonia: uncontrolled shaking/ stiffness. He was in the hospital for 6 weeks.”

The update was accompanied by a sweet video of Henry’s little brother giving him kisses. See the full tweet (below):

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Richard had previously opened up to People in 2019 explaining that the six-year-old was “lacking a conductor gene” and a medical team at Texas Children’s Hospital was “trying to build a treatment that could help immensely.” A year later, he revealed to Today how the lockdowns that came with COVID-19 impacted his little boy, writing:

“Henry has severe special needs, and COVID has been an absolute nightmare for him and millions of other children like him.”

He continued at the time: 

“School was the only place where [Henry] could interact with other children.”

The author added that his son, who was four at the time, “doesn’t walk or talk. He can’t feed himself efficiently. He doesn’t sit up straight. Now that he’s getting bigger, he can barely move independently.” Such a rough life.

Ugh, that would be so heartbreaking to witness as a parent. We can’t even begin to imagine… We’re just glad that little Henry is no longer suffering. All of our love and support goes out to the Engel family during this unthinkable time. Rest in peace angel.

[Images via Richard Engel/Twitter & Instagram]

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