Comedian Rob Delaney’s 2-Year-Old Son Tragically Died of Cancer as He Filmed ‘Catastrophe’

Some fans feel that British TV show Catastrophe ended too soon. Like most shows from across the pond, each season has only a few episodes, meaning that although the comedy had 4 seasons, it only filmed 24 episodes.

Star Rob Delaney doesn’t feel like it ended too soon, however. Last year he told a reporter for The New Yorker that he was ready for it to end.

According to Delaney, he said all he needed to say. Although the show didn’t last a long time, what Delaney had to say was a lot. 

Rob Delaney’s ‘Catastrophe’ is a lot of things

Rob Delaney
Rob Delaney | Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images

Delaney started his comedy career in standup. He also has an impressive Twitter following. Delaney is infamous for his raunchy yet hilarious tweets. For Catastrophe, the all-American comedian teamed up with Irish star Sharon Horgan. He plays an American tourist in the UK who has a fling with Horgan’s character. All is well and good until she ends up pregnant, and Delaney’s character moves to London. The two get married and try to make it work. 

Although Catastrophe is billed as a comedy, fans find it’s so much more. Delaney is a father himself, and he injects his real life experiences into his writing for the show. That makes it more than just funny. It’s real, and heartfelt. Delaney deals with real issues through comedy, which keeps fans laughing even as they connect with the material. There’s deep stuff in there along with the jokes. Delaney even touches on grief in Catastrophe, something he knows a lot about.  

The best and worst moments in Rob Delaney’s life happened simultaneously 

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Landing a show like Catastrophe was a big deal for a budding comedian like Delaney. He moved his family to London, even though he didn’t think the show would last very long. He had three beautiful children, and a loving wife. The show he was sure would fail was taking off.

Everything was coming together for Delaney. And then life took a terrible turn. His youngest son, Henry, was diagnosed with cancer. Henry was just 1 year old when they got the news, and he would pass away a year later, at two. 

Delaney, a notoriously private person, opened up to the public about Henry’s death. He used his platform on Twitter to try and educate others about grief, and how to treat a grieving person.

He wrote that “Tweets like this aren’t therapeutic to me, nor are they ‘updates.’ I just want other bereaved parents & siblings to feel seen/heard/respected/loved.” 

Despite his grief, Rob Delaney continued with ‘Catastrophe’ 

Delaney didn’t end Catastrophe, although his grief did probably influence the script for the final season. Delaney and Horgan wrote it just weeks after little Henry’s funeral. Delaney says he felt comfortable enough with Horgan to be able to grieve in front of her, and it was important to him that his two older sons see him go to work.

But just because he was in the writer’s room doesn’t mean he was able to keep his mind off his loss. According to Delaney, “By this time, I know them well enough where, if I just want to sit and cry for a while, I wouldn’t even have to get up and leave.” 

To add to the chaos of Catastrophe’s last season, Delaney’s wife was pregnant with their fourth son when Henry passed away. Delaney and his wife naturally experienced conflicting emotions, since the new baby came on the heels of such a tragic loss.

As a result, Catastrophe’s last season is grittier, and realer than the previous three. Delaney is open about the fact that he draws on his real life experiences in his comedy. For now, however, he may be turning to more serious roles. Delaney starred in the 2019 movie about Roger Ailes, Bombshell.