CNN’s Andrew Kaczynski and his wife, Wall Street Journal reporter Rachel Louise Ensign, are mourning the death of their baby daughter Francesca. Kaczynski shared on Friday that the 9-month-old had died the day prior, on Christmas Eve, due to complications from cancer.
“We’re heartbroken to have to announce our beautiful daughter Francesca passed away last night in the arms of her mom and dad. There will always be a Bean-sized hole in our hearts for her. We’re so grateful to have known her love,” he tweeted. “Francesca we love you.”
Rachel and I tried to write an obituary for her that captured her short, wonderful life. She was a bold curious baby, whose smile light up rooms. https://t.co/OGml2nZ12H
— andrew kaczynski (@KFILE) December 25, 2020
Francesca was diagnosed with an “extremely rare and very aggressive rhabdoid brain tumor,” Kaczynski revealed in September. She later underwent brain surgery and developed meningitis. Francesca, who was nicknamed “Bean” by her parents, developed a fungal infection in recent weeks, and was put on a ventilator and life support.
“In her short life, Francesca was an outgoing, bold and curious baby. She had huge, deep brown eyes that followed whatever her parents were doing. She loved eating and being held close, particularly in the evenings,” Kaczynski and Ensign wrote in an obituary for their daughter. “She loved seeing her parents, Andrew Kaczynski and Rachel Ensign, and greeting them with the world’s biggest smile and an excited kick when she woke up from a nap.”
“Her many smiles sent a thrill through the world. She was so generous with them, even when most of the smiles back were covered by masks and even when she faced challenges that would scare an adult, like a cancer diagnosis or being born with hearing loss,” the obit continued.
Kaczynski and Ensign also praised the staff at Boston Children’s Hospital, where Francesca was treated.
“Doctors and nurses would gasp with joy when they saw her smile as they entered her room,” they wrote. “She adored music therapy and had some of her first big laughs playing with a balloon of Elmo, her favorite Sesame Street character, from the hospital gift shop during occupational therapy. On Halloween, she dressed up with her nurses in a homemade Pasta Fagioli costume.”
“Francesca showed her parents a kind of love they never knew before and they will never forget it. Beanie is survived by her parents, her Bubbe, her grandparents, her aunt and uncle and cousins,” the obit concluded. “In lieu of flowers, food, or gifts of any kind, donations can be made in honor of Francesca to the PMC Winter Cycle charity event, which donates 100 percent of every rider-raised dollar directly to Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.”