Richard Engel announces death of 6-year-old son Henry

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Richard Engel’s young son Henry sadly died in August after being diagnosed with an incurable genetic condition. The American foreign correspondent honoured what would have been his seventh birthday earlier in the week, as he spoke out on the trauma of losing him to a rare neurological disorder.

The emotional 49-year-old wished late son Henry – or “Binks”, as he affectionately called him – a happy birthday in view of his 625,000 Twitter followers.

“Henry would have turned 7 today. A big thank you to everyone who sent kind and thoughtful messages, and donated to support medical research to defeat Rett Syndrome,” he wrote.

The heartbreaking condition causes the brain to progressively deteriorate, affecting language skills and movement and causing “severe mental and physical disability”.

Richard shared his pain over the course of his little boy’s life, as he struggled to come to terms with the fact he might never see him successfully learn to walk.

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He had told followers prior to Henry’s death last month that the youngster was “probably not going to walk, probably not going to speak, probably not going to have any mental capacity beyond the level of a 2-year-old”.

However, he told how his milestones were made all the more special when they occurred, due to how difficult it was for him to achieve them.

In an article published in Today, Richard admitted: “His physical and mental development aren’t on pace with other children, so, when I got the ‘Dada’ from him, I went a little wild.”

Sadly, although some sufferers are able to live into their 50s, Henry was unable to live past the age of six.

Richard’s Twitter followers flooded his page with their condolences as he marked the birthday he never got to experience.

@aul_lori sympathised: “My heart goes out to these parents who lost their beautiful boy.

“The love you poured into him will leave ripples into your lives for years to come. RIP Sweet Henry!”

Meanwhile, @cougzilla wrote to share their own experience of losing a young son in childhood, declaring: “No one who hasn’t experienced this loss will ever understand.”

The fellow parent added: “Stay strong and try to memorialize Binks however you and your family see fit.”

@izabella102911 cited the death as an inspiration for her to help other young children, writing: “There are not enough words to express how shattered I’m about little Henry.

“He was my inspiration to start charity work which I have been doing since I heard @RichardEngel interview what pandemic has done to the kiddos with disabilities.”

@redgrow chimed in: “Happy Birthday Binks. Watch over your Daddy has he does important and dangerous work bringing us truth about far away places.”

Following his son’s death, Richard made the courageous decision to donate Henry’s cells to research to try to help find a cure for Rett Syndrome.

Just a few months before Henry’s death, Richard shared his pride as his son had been able to support himself in an upright position without help, due to physiotherapy sessions.

Now, the news presenter is determined that his son’s death will not be in vain, as he urged followers to donate to medical research.

Anyone experiencing difficulties with bereavement or loss of a loved one should contact the Samaritans on 116 123, which operates 24 hours a day, every day of the year.

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