Hoda Kotb and Other NBC Employees Continue to Lament Henry Engel’s Death

One day after Henry Engel, NBC News Correspondent Richard Engel’s 6-year-old son died after a long fight with Rett syndrome, many of Richard’s NBC colleagues have expressed their sympathies to the Engel family.

Most recently, on Friday, August 19, while co-hosting Today, Hoda Kotb took a few seconds to commemorate Henry by offering a few words while seated at the anchor desk. “We have tragic news to share with you regarding an NBC News family member,” Kotb said.

“The 6-year-old son of Henry Engel, Richard Engel, and Mary Forrest has died. Henry was diagnosed with Rett syndrome, a rare condition. Richard and Mary have shared their experience with our viewers over the last few years to bring awareness to this condition and make other struggling families feel less alone. So many people who watch our show see Richard standing in a dangerous area covering something, unknowing that he is waging the toughest struggle at home.”

“I remember Mary talking about how she was caring for him, how she would carry him in a BabyBjörn all around the home, and that’s how she went through a lot of their life,” Kotb added, growing upset.

“We know that Richard is so brave, but it is so brave for [Engel and his wife] to have shared that tale and that journey because there are so many other families like that,” fellow anchor Tom Llamas said the end of the piece. It was terrible that everyone at NBC News had their heads down yesterday. We love you, Richard, and we’re praying for you.”

Engel has been candid about his son’s struggles over the years. Rett Syndrome is a genetic brain condition for which there is no treatment or cure.

Engel confirmed his beloved son’s death on Twitter on August 18. “Our dear son Henry has died. He had the most beautiful blue eyes, an easy grin, and an infectious laugh. We always surrounded him with affection, which he responded in spades.” “Mary and Richard,” he said in the tweet’s signature.

According to the International Rett Syndrome Foundation, the illness can impact “almost every area of a child’s life,” including the “ability to speak, move, eat, and breathe easily.”

The disease is frequently diagnosed in children between 6 to 18 months. According to Today, Henry and the Engel family worked closely with Dr. Huda Zoghbi over his six years of existence. Following Henry’s death, Dr. Zoghbi also published a statement.

“In so many ways, Henry was unique. From the moment I met him, his warm and appealing grin and the way he linked with his eyes stole my heart. His silent battle against this dreadful sickness was extraordinary. We shall continue to make every effort to create treatments. This is how we shall remember him.”

Engel published an op-ed for Today four years ago, in 2018, in which he went personal about the anguish of watching his son suffer with this condition and the immense joy Henry gave to their life. “None of this implies we don’t enjoy our time with Henry,” he added. I can’t think of a youngster who is more loved.”

“We have ‘cuddle parties’ on our bed several times a day, where we kid him, rub him, praise him (he likes to hear his name and be complimented), and twist his thick, wonderful hair in our fingers,” Engel wrote.

Engel was likewise taken aback when Henry said his first “dada” to him. A memory he will cherish for the rest of his life.

“It was affirmation for me, an acknowledgment that he’s in there and understands who I am, that his mother and I are positive elements in his life, and, most importantly, that he loves us.”

Engel provided the most recent report on his son’s ailment earlier this year, in March when he stated that Henry’s condition has “progressed.” Henry had dystonia, which caused “uncontrolled shaking and stiffness.”

Our thoughts and prayers are with the Engel family during this extremely sad time.


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