Richard Engel’s 6-Year-Old Son Passes Away: Fans Offer NBC News Correspondent Their Support

by Caitlin Berard

On Thursday morning, NBC News Chief Foreign Correspondent Richard Engel shared the devastating news that his son, Henry, had died at just six years old. “Our beloved son Henry passed away,” the grieving father wrote on Twitter alongside a picture of his son. “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.”

Sadly, Henry was born with Rett syndrome, a genetic brain disorder that has neither an available treatment nor a cure. And though this didn’t affect his parents’ affection toward him in the least, it did leave him with a variety of disabilities.

After years of working with the Duncan Neurological Research Institute, Henry began to show improvement, winning the hearts of everyone he met along the way. In May of this year, however, Richard Engel shared the harrowing news that Henry had “taken a turn for the worse.”

As his doctor has shared, Henry will continue to help other children with Rett syndrome. “Henry was special in so many ways,” Dr. Huda Zoghbi wrote in tribute to her young patient. “We will continue to push as hard as possible to develop treatments. This is how we will honor his life.”

Fans Send Messages of Support to Richard Engel

Rather than dwell on the negative, Richard Engel cherished every moment with his son and used Henry’s experiences to inspire others and spread awareness about Rett syndrome.

Over time, people all over the world grew to love Henry, including the Engel family’s friends, his doctors, and his father’s fans. And though no one’s grief can touch that of his parents, messages of heartbreak and love poured in from every corner of the globe following the tragic news of Henry’s passing.

“I am beyond saddened for your loss. I don’t know how anyone gets over the loss of a child and I wish you and your family strength and peace,” one fan wrote.

“So deeply sorry. There is nothing to say that alleviates this pain, but I hope the knowledge that so many people are lifting up your family will offer some comfort. He is loved and remembered,” another said.