NBC News Chief Foreign Correspondent Richard Engel broke the heartbreaking news that his 6-year-old son Henry had passed away. Although Engel only revealed the tragic news on August 18, Henry passed away on August 9 according to a memorial page on the Texas Children’s Hospital website.
Henry, our cherished son, passed away. He glowed with an infectious laugh, the sweetest blue eyes, and a simple smile. He was always surrounded by our love, and he gave it to us in spades. Richard and Mary,” he said in a tweet.
In 2018, Engel, a frequent guest on the TODAY show, revealed his son’s health to the public. Mary remarked at the time, “It’s raw and sad and extremely personal, but hopefully other people will see this and feel a little less alone, and we’ll feel less alone.”
The boy’s parents realized he was behind schedule in reaching milestones, but it took numerous doctor visits before they discovered he had Rett syndrome, a rare neurological condition for which there is no known treatment.
When you walk down the street and see other kids acting normally while realizing that his and our lives will never be like that, Richard said, it may seem quite lonely.
Engel remembers Henry saying “dada” in 2019. He still struggles with basic tasks like picking up a ball with both hands; my wife Mary had been telling him I was coming home, but because of his condition it’s hard to know what’s seeping in, Engel said in an article.
Henry looked at me, locked eyes with me, and said, “dada,” as clearly as any word, as I was singing him good morning songs and reuniting with him after a long voyage apart, Engel wrote.
Regular updates regarding his son were being shared by Engel, but one from earlier this year raised some questions. “Unfortunately, things have turned badly for him.”
“As his health worsened, he acquired dystonia, or uncontrollable stiffness and shaking. In May 2022, he wrote, “He was in the hospital for six weeks, but is currently at home and receiving love from brother Theo.
In two months, the NBC News correspondent would give his audience another update on his son’s travels, but this time it would be devastating news.
Many people have sent their condolences to the Engel family, including the medical professional who treated Henry at the Duncan Neurological Research Institute at Texas Children’s Hospital.
Henry was unique in a lot of ways. Dr. Huda Zoghbi, the founding director of the Duncan NRI, said, “His kind and adorable grin and the way he connected with his eyes grabbed my heart from the first I saw him.
“It was amazing to watch him battle this dreadful disease in silence. The influence Henry had on so many of us at the Duncan NRI and on our Rett research is, however, what is most astounding. We’ll keep working as hard as we can to develop cures. We will remember his life in this manner.
Rest in peace, Henry.