NBC News’ Richard Engel Announces Death of 6-Year-Old Son Henry
Waiting for your permission to load the Instagram Media.
Richard Engel is mourning the death of his 6-year-old son Henry.
The NBC News Chief Foreign Correspondent and his wife Mary announced the news on Thursday. Engel posted on Twitter, "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. Mary and Richard.”
A memorial page for Henry revealed he died on August 9 and included details of his battle with Rett syndrome.
The page explained that Henry, who was born September 29, 2015, wasn’t meeting developmental milestones and so underwent testing, adding, “A genetic test ultimately provided the answer: Henry had a mutation in his MECP2 gene. MECP2 mutations cause Rett syndrome, a disorder that typically affects girls after their first birthday, robbing them of learned skills and leaving them with cognitive deficits, loss of speech, and a variety of motor difficulties.”
The page continued, “In 2018, Henry and his family came to Texas Children’s Hospital’s Duncan Neurological Research Institute. Since then, Henry’s mutation has been studied by Dr. Huda Zoghbi, who discovered that MECP2 mutations cause Rett syndrome.”
The website said, “Henry made the best of every single day and worked tirelessly in his many physical and developmental therapies. He continues to be an inspiration for Dr. Zoghbi and her team as they work to find effective treatments for Rett syndrome, and they already are making significant progress with Henry’s own cells.”
In 2018, Richard opened up about Henry in a “Today” essay. He wrote at the time, “Henry’s disability is profound, but is also profoundly unique, and anything that rare is valuable. Doctors think Henry’s exact genetic mutation is one of a kind. They think — and I’m still blown away by this — that he could hold the secret to finding a cure not only for himself, but for many other children with special needs.”
He also shared the challenges him and Mary faced after Henry’s diagnosis. “It is still very much a work in progress. The psychological strains work away at you like drops of water, burrowing into the hardest of stones. I broadcast for a living and have a son who cannot speak. I write books and have a son who cannot read. While reporting in war zones, I wrote a series of poems for my future child, who cannot understand them. Is it irony or math or God who conspires to find the very places where we are most sensitive and push on them? Mary and I are becoming stronger, physically and mentally, because of Henry, but I must say I wish we didn’t have to.”
Engel shared his deep love for his son, writing, “None of this means we don’t enjoy our time with Henry. I can’t imagine a child who is showered with more love. We gather on our bed several times a day for what we call ‘cuddle parties,’ where we kiss him, rub him, praise him (he loves to hear his name and be praised) and curl his thick, gorgeous hair in our fingers.”
The family is honoring Henry’s memory by raising money for research for Rett syndrome. Donate here.