‘TODAY Show’s Savannah Guthrie Honors Richard Engel’s Late Son in Emotional Tribute

by Chris Piner

Known for being the chief foreign correspondent for NBC, Richard Engel held many titles including husband and most importantly, father. Sadly, on Thursday, the journalist announced that his son Henry, who was only 6 years old, passed away from his battle with Rett Syndrome. Engel tweeted the news, writing, “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.” With family and friends pouring in support for Engel and his wife, Mary Forrest, NBC anchor Savannah Guthrie shared a touching tribute to Henry.

Posting a picture of her and Henry sharing a cuddling embrace, Savannah Guthrie wrote, “Dearest Henry, I will never forget your sweet spirit and the twinkly in your eye.”

Richard Engel Remembers His Late Son Henry

Although a sad moment for Richard Engel and his family, the journalist updated fans about Henry’s health back in 2017. For those who might not know, Rett Syndrome is a neurological disorder that can lead to cognitive impairments and neurological disorders. To date, there is no cure. On top of posting a picture of his late son, Engel added in a follow-up post, “Researchers are making amazing progress using Henry’s cells to help cure RETT Syndrome so others don’t have to endure this terrible disease.” 

Back in May, Richard Engel shared another post of Henry, explaining his son took a turn for the worse. “For everyone following Henry’s story, unfortunately, he’s taken a turn for the worse. His condition progressed and he’s developed dystonia: uncontrolled shaking/ stiffness.” He made sure to add that Henry was “now home and getting love from brother Theo.”

Many Parents Share Their Frustration With COVID-19 And Keeping Kids Safe

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Richard Engel stressed the importance of staying safe around Henry given his conditions. He told Today at the time that Henry wasn’t doing too well. “Henry has severe special needs, and COVID has been an absolute nightmare for him and millions of other children like him. I’d add more colorful adjectives, but you get the point. Henry doesn’t walk or talk. He can’t feed himself efficiently. He doesn’t sit up straight. Now that he’s getting bigger, he can barely move independently.”

Wanting nothing more than for his son to live a normal, healthy life, Richard Engel remembered discussing the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. One parent shared her own frustration, writing, “I was feeling like a failure. I thought, ‘I just can’t do this. It’s just a terrible situation and we’re all trying to adapt and survive.”

Several fans of Richard Engel shared their own stories of losing children, hoping to show him he is not alone during the troubling time.