Richard Engel Says 6-Year-Old Son Henry Has Taken "Turn for the Worse" Due to Rare Neurological Disorder

NBC News’ Richard Engel shared that his 6-year-old son Henry, who has Rett syndrome, has been in the hospital "for six weeks" noting that he has "taken a turn for the worse."

By Kelly Gilmore Jun 01, 2022 3:21 AMTags
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Richard Engel has shared a heartbreaking update on his 6-year-old son, Henry, who was born with a variant of Rett syndrome.

"For everyone following Henry's story, unfortunately he's taken a turn for the worse," Richard wrote in a tweet shared on May 31. "His condition progressed and he's developed dystonia: uncontrolled shaking/ stiffness."

Richard continued by noting that while Henry was in the hospital for six weeks, he is now "home and getting love from brother Theo."

Richard's post was paired with a video of Henry and his younger brother in bed. In the touching clip, Theo, 2, is seen giving Henry a kiss on the head.

Following Richard's announcement, Today shared an Instagram post on the matter. Users took to the comment section to share their thoughts in Henry's honor.

Al Roker wrote, "I cannot imagine doing the incredible work you are doing while Henry has taken a turn. God bless you all. Thank you and your crew for the courageous journalism."

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MSNBC host Stephanie Ruhle chimed in, adding, "Praying for Richard and his beautiful family...thinking about all the amazing reporting he is doing from Ukraine while dealing with these enormous family health challenges."

After the outpour of support received by fans, Richard took to Twitter again on May 31 to share a picture of Henry sitting up.

"Thank you everyone for all the kind messages, from Henry, our Mr. Handsome," he wrote.

According to the Mayo Clinic, Rett syndrome—which currently has no cure—is a rare genetic disorder that leads to a loss of communication and motor skills.

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Back in 2018, Richard and his wife, Mary Forrest, opened up about their son's condition during an appearance on Today. At the time, the couple recalled how they came to learn of Henry's diagnosis. Richard explained that after taking him to multiple doctors, they made the choice to do a full genetic scan.

"I called the doctor and he said, ‘We found something and It's very, very severe and it's lifelong, not treatable," Richard said, later adding, "It was the worst day of my life."

And while the family has continued to remain strong against all odds, Richard has recounted better days as well since then.

In an essay Richard wrote for Today published in 2019, the NBC News chief foreign correspondent shared that Henry had called him "Dada" for the first time.

"I finally got a ‘Dada,'' he wrote. "It was a long time coming, which made it all the sweeter — an unexpected reward."

Richard later added, "To parents with typically developing children, a little Dada may not seem like a big deal. But for me it was a validation, an acknowledgement that he's in there, knows me, knows that his mother and I are forces for good in his life, and above all, that he loves us."

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