‘Today’ Host Hoda Kotb Delivers Tearful On-Air Message

Richard Engel from the NBC News family is mourning the death of his 6-year-old son Henry. On the Aug. 19 episode of Today, co-anchors Hoda Kotb, Tom Llamas, and Sheinelle Jones spoke about the “heartbreaking” news of the child’s death and looked back on his battle with Rett syndrome, a rare genetic neurological disorder.

Engel, 48, shared the news of Henry’s death on Twitter. The 6-year-old died on Aug. 9, according to a memorial page on the Texas Children’s Hospital website. “We have heartbreaking news to share with you about a member of our NBC News family,” Kotb, 58, began the segment, appearing to fight back tears “Henry Engel, Richard Engel and Mary Forrest’s 6-year-old son, has passed away. Henry suffered from a rare disease, it’s called Rett syndrome.”

“Over the last few years, Richard and Mary have shared their journey with our viewers to shed light on this disorder and so other struggling families with it wouldn’t feel quite so alone,” she added. The team then played a compilation video of Engel’s past interviews about Henry. Kotb said she was sending her love to Engel, his wife Mary, and their 2-year-old son Theo.

“So many people watching our show see Richard standing in a very dangerous place covering something unaware that at home he was fighting what is the biggest battle,” she said her colleague. “I remember Mary talking about how she was caring for him, how she would carry him in a BabyBjörn all around the house, and that’s how she went through a lot of their life.”

Llamas added: “We know that Richard is so brave, but it is so brave for [Engel and his wife] to have shared that story and that journey because there are so many other families like that. Everyone at NBC News had their head down yesterday, it was just so sad. Richard, we love you and we’re praying for you,” he concluded.

Watch the clip below:

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