Childhood Cancer

CNN's Andrew Kaczynski Thanks People for Support After Death of Baby Daughter

Francesca passed away on Christmas Eve after battling a rare and aggressive rhabdoid brain tumor

Francesca Kaczynski.
Andrew Kaczynski

CNN political reporter Andrew Kaczynski thanked people for reaching out following his baby daughter Francesca's death from cancer and shared heartbreaking new images of her in her final months.

The 31-year-old journalist and his wife and Wall Street Journal banking reporter Rachel Louise Ensign's child passed away at age 9 months on Christmas Eve after battling a rare and aggressive rhabdoid brain tumor and following a lengthy hospitalization.

Kaczynski announced the tragic news on Christmas Day on social media, where he had documented Francesca's fight and received support from friends and fans, and published an obituary he and Ensign co-wrote for her.

"Thank you everyone, your messages have touched our hearts," Kaczynski wrote on Twitter on Saturday. "We're so grateful for how much money has been raised in Francesca's honor for Dana Farber to fight this terrible disease and we are going to spend the rest of our lives involved in finding a cure."

He also shared a video of Francesca laying in a crib and cooing, writing, "I know a lot of you didn't know Beans before her cancer diagnosis in September. She had such a pep in her step before she started treatment. And we're so fortunate she got six normal months of life. This was from the end of July."

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On Instagram, Kaczynski shared a photo of Francesca smiling while laying in a hospital bed, wearing a chemotherapy port.

"This was the last smile Francesca gave me. It was on my birthday on November 30th and it was the only thing I wanted that day."

"Even though she had begun to get seriously sick from her treatment at this point, she still managed to give Dada a small smile," he said. "We miss her tremendously."

CNN, whose staffers rallied behind Kaczynski's family amid their daughter's health battle, aired a tribute to Francesca.

"Throughout this whole ordeal, the entire CNN family has been pulling for Francesca and keeping family close in our thoughts and prayers and this is heartbreaking news for all of us," anchor John Avlon said in his segment. "But now we ask you to join us in sending our love as we try to lift them up in the difficult days and weeks and months ahead.

"You can honor Francesca's memory through a donation to their charity but also through a recommitment to simple kindness and compassion while remembering to hold your loved ones extra tight tonight. Appreciate every moment and take nothing for granted. Andrew and Rachel, stay strong. We love you. And know that Francesca's memory will always be a blessing."

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