Richard Engel, a correspondent for NBC News, announced Thursday that his 6-year-old son passed away from Rett Syndrome on Aug. 9.
Henry had been battling Rett Syndrome, a rare genetic neurological disorder, since 2017, according to Texas Children’s Hospital.”Our beloved son Henry passed away. He had the softest blue eyes, an easy smile and a contagious giggle,” Engel wrote to his Twitter account. “We always surrounded him with love and he returned it, and so much more.”
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. Mary and Richard. https://t.co/M8LV8SHv6r pic.twitter.com/21Ja6TOtjH
— Richard Engel (@RichardEngel) August 18, 2022
Engle’s tweet included a link to the Texas Children’s Hospital, which directed visitors of the page to a beautiful memorial written in Henry’s honor. “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 memorial read.
“Henry Engel was born on September 29, 2015. When he was still an infant, his parents noticed that he was not reaching his developmental milestones, and he underwent numerous medical exams to discover the cause,” the hospital said. “A genetic test ultimately provided the answer: Henry had a mutation in his MECP2 gene. MECP2 mutations cause Rett syndrome.” (RELATED: Officials Say Child Likely Died From Brain-Eating Amoeba, Would Be First Case For Nebraska)
The hospital defined this medical condition as being one that robs its victims “of learned skills … leaving them with cognitive deficits, loss of speech, and a variety of motor difficulties.”
Dr. Huda Zoghbi, Founding Director of the Duncan NRI, wrote a touching tribute to Henry, noting the impact the youngster had on those who had the opportunity to meet him.
“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 time I met him,” Zoghbi wrote. “His quiet fight against this terrible disease was incredible. What is most amazing, however, is the impact Henry had on so many of us at the Duncan NRI and on our Rett research. We will continue to push as hard as possible to develop treatments. This is how we will honor his life.”