NBC News Chief Foreign Correspondent Richard Engel shared with everyone the news of the death of his 6-year-old son. The boy suffered from Rett Syndrome, which is a brain disorder that has no cure.
He shared the news on Twitter where he wrote “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.” He signed the tweet, “Mary and Richard.”
Attached to the post was another post from Texas Children’s Hospital that had made a memorial in Henry’s honor.
It read “Henry Engel – a beautiful child and a true hero for fighting Rett syndrome and inspiring researchers to find a treatment – sadly passed away on August 9, 2022.”
The syndrome Henry suffered from can affect “nearly every aspect of a child’s life,” including the “ability to speak, walk, eat, and breathe easily.”
According to the International Rett Syndrome Foundation, this condition affects about 1 in 10,000 females and is even rarer in males.
“Henry was special in so many ways. His loving and endearing smile, and the way he connected with his eyes, stole my heart from the moment I met him. His quiet fight against this terrible disease was incredible. We will continue to push as hard as possible to develop treatments. This is how we will honor his life.”
Engel and his wife Mary say that they found out about the boy in 2017. In 2018, they told about the boy’s condition and that he had brought a lot of joy to their lives.
“None of this means we don’t enjoy our time with Henry. I can’t imagine a child who is shored with more love.”
“We gather on our bed several times a day for what we call ‘cuddle parties,’ where we kid him, rub him, praise him (he loves to hear his name and be praised), and curl his thick, gorgeous hair in our fingers,” Engel wrote.
He recalled the special moment when his boy uttered the word “dada” for the very first time.
“For me, it was validation, an acknowledgment that he’s in there, knows me, knows that his mother and I are forces for good in his life, and above all, that he loves us.”