Richard Engel’s 'beloved' son, 6, dies after battle with rare incurable disease

Lottie O'Neill August 18, 2022
Richard Engel’s 'beloved' son, 6, dies after battle with rare incurable disease

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Richard Engel has announced the heartbreaking news his six-year-old son Henry has died after a battle with Rett Syndrome.

The NBC News chief foreign correspondent announced the tragic news on Twitter on Thursday morning, (August 18).

In a tribute, Richard spoke of his son’s “softest blue eyes” and “contagious giggle”.

Rett Syndrome is a rare neurological disorder. It affects how the brain develops, reports the Mayo Clinic. There is no cure for Rett Syndrome yet and it can cause progressive loss of language and motor skills.

Richard Engel pays tribute to son Henry

Richard tweeted: “Our beloved son Henry passed away. He had the softest blue eyes, an easy smile and a contagious giggle,” the NBC star tweeted Thursday morning.

“We always surrounded him with love and he returned it, and so much more. Mary and Richard.”

It’s believed young Henry passed away on August 9, 2022.

He then followed up with another tweet where he called the syndrome a “terrible disease”.

Richard added a link to a fundraiser for the cause: “Researchers are making amazing progress using Henry’s cells to help cure RETT Syndrome so others don’t have to endure this terrible disease”.

Fans and fellow stars send condolences

Hundreds have paid their condolences to the family after their devastating loss.

CNN anchor Jim Sciutto penned: “Lord, I’m so heartbroken to hear, my friend. Thinking of you and Mary and you entire family. Please take care.”

TODAY Show’s Al Roker added: “What a strong little man who touched every one who witnesses his bravery”.

And UK’s Piers Morgan wrote: “How incredibly sad. My deepest condolences to you and all your family.”

Henry’s battle with Rett Syndrome

The 48-year-old told fans earlier this summer Henry took a ‘turn for the worse’. Richard explained the six-year-old had developed dystonia.

Dystonia is a “movement disorder in which your muscles contract involuntarily, causing repetitive or twisting movements”, reports Mayo Clinic.

After six weeks in hospital, Henry was transported back home, Richard said at the time.

In 2017, Richard first opened up over Henry’s diagnosis. Three years later he explained how his condition had worsened during lock-down. The NBC star said it left Henry unable to “walk or talk” because he was unable to attend school over the pandemic.

Richard and his wife Mary Forrest welcomed Henry in September 2015. They also share son Theo who was born in August 2019.

To donate to Texas Children’s Hospital’s fundraiser for Rett Syndrome, please click here.

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Lottie is the Head of Audience for Entertainment and Gaming, working with the teams on HITC, Reality Titbit, The Focus and Freshered. She is passionate about news being accessible to everyone, and focuses on bringing audiences quality content that they enjoy. She loves the art of storytelling, whether that be news, movies or heavy hardback fiction.