Richard Engel's 'Beloved Son' Dies at 6

Henry Engel had a rare genetic neurological disorder
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 19, 2022 1:00 AM CDT
Richard Engel's 'Beloved Son' Dies at 6
This image taken from video shows NBC News correspondent Richard Engel reporting from the Ukraine on Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022.   (NBC News via AP)

(Newser) – Richard Engel, chief foreign correspondent for NBC News, made a devastating announcement on Twitter Thursday: His "beloved son" died Aug. 9 at age 6. Henry Engel had been diagnosed with Rett Syndrome, a rare genetic neurological disorder, in 2017. "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," Engel wrote. After his birth in September 2015, Henry's parents sought medical care when they noticed their son wasn't hitting developmental milestones, according to a Texas Children's Hospital memorial site for Henry.

Rett Syndrome causes cognitive deficits, loss of speech and other learned skills, and a variety of motor difficulties, the hospital says. According to Boston Children's Hospital, the syndrome can also cause intestinal, breathing, orthopedic, and heart complications. At the end of May, Engel had shared the news that Henry had "taken a turn for the worse," People reports. "His condition progressed and he's developed dystonia: uncontrolled shaking/ stiffness," Engel wrote at the time. There is currently no cure for Rett Syndrome, but Engel shared after Henry's death that "researchers are making amazing progress using Henry’s cells to help cure RETT Syndrome so others don’t have to endure this terrible disease." (Read more NBC News stories.)

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