What to Know About Al Roker’s Health Journey: Ups and Downs of His Surgeries, Weight Loss
Meteorologist Al Roker is loved by many viewers of Today and has received so much support from his colleagues throughout his health journey. The news reporter has been very candid about experiencing ups and downs after a number of surgeries and hospitalizations over the years. Scroll below for details on Al’s health, fitness and weight loss.
When Did Al Roker Have Knee Replacement Surgery?
Al first joined the Today team in 1996 and has become one of the most recognizable faces of the franchise. From hosting the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade each year to authoring several bestselling books, the weatherman has truly had a remarkable career. But he certainly faced his own set of challenges along the way.
After the birth of his two eldest children, Courtney and Leila, Al underwent a knee replacement on his left knee in 2001. He had been feeling pain for years after injuring his entire leg in a car accident and felt it was finally time to go under the knife. As Al recovered from the surgery, he took a hiatus from Today while Willard Scott and Janice Huff filled in for him.
How Much Weight Did Al Roker Lose?
Al, then 340 pounds and wearing a size 54 in pants, was inspired to start his weight loss journey after the devastating death of his father, Albert Lincoln Roker Sr. In 2002, he had gastric bypass surgery which led him to lose 100 pounds. That same year, the Emmy winner and his wife, Deborah Ann Roberts, welcomed their son, Nicholas.
“I don’t know if you’ve ever had to make a deathbed promise to someone you love, but if you have, you know the kind of guilt and massive responsibility I felt in that moment,” the journalist explained about his decision to prioritize his health in his 2013 memoir, Never Goin’ Back: Winning The Weight Loss Battle for Good.
Three years after the gastric bypass, Al had a spinal microdiscectomy, a surgery to help relieve pain in his spine and right leg. The New York native also opened up about having two separate shoulder surgeries, one in 2014 to repair a rotator cuff and the other in 2020 after feeling “intense pain” caused by arthritis.
What Happened to Al Roker's Hand?
Prior to making his Broadway debut in Waitress, Al had emergency carpal tunnel surgery. “It had just gotten progressively worse to the point where Thursday, I lost use of my thumb during rehearsals,” he said of the pain during an October 2018 episode of Today.
One year later, the newscaster had total hip replacement surgery. Just 12 days after the procedure, he returned to Today and documented his physical therapy sessions on Instagram.
"I had no pain," he said during a September 2019 segment on the morning talk show about being able to walk again just three hours after the surgery. "All the pain that had been there from the hip, gone."
Al Roker Opened Up About His Cancer Battle
In November 2020, the dad of three announced he had been diagnosed with prostate cancer after a routine exam. Al underwent surgery to remove lymph nodes around his prostate. He updated Today viewers and his cohosts on his condition during a virtual appearance on the show.
"I'm very fortunate," he said. "I just went to the doctor yesterday and they checked everything and everything is fine. ... Right now, there is no cancer evident, but I'm going to have to get tested [every] six months for the next five years."
Why Was Al Roker Hospitalized in 2022?
In November 2022, viewers grew concerned after Al missed several consecutive episodes of Today. He revealed the real reason he was absent from the show in an Instagram post.
“So many of you have been thoughtfully asking where I’ve been. Last week I was admitted to the hospital with a blood clot in my leg which sent some clots into my lungs,” he captioned a post. “After some medical whack-a-mole, I am so fortunate to be getting terrific medical care and on the way to recovery. Thanks for all the well wishes and prayers and hope to see you soon. Have a great weekend, everyone.”
His most recent health battle sent him to the hospital a second time, just days after his family brought him home. During a seven-hour surgery, doctors also found two bleeding ulcers and resectioned his colon before removing his gallbladder and repairing part of his small intestine. Even after two hospitalizations, Al still kept a great attitude and positive outlook on life.
"I went in for one operation, I got four free," he joked during a January 2023 episode of Today. "So, I got that going for me."
Will Al Roker Have Another Surgery?
Prior to returning in person to Today after suffering from blood clots, Al appeared virtually on the program. He hinted at scheduling another surgery in the near future.
”You lose a certain amount of muscle mass for every week you’re in the hospital, and I was in the hospital for four weeks. So, it’s just a certain amount of weakness,” the broadcaster shared before revealing his physical therapy regimen. “I’ve got to just get my strength back. And in the meantime, I was thinking in January of getting my knee replaced, so I’ve got to push that back. So, I’ve got a number of issues.”
Al ended up making his big return to the Today studio in Rockefeller Center on January 6, 2023. His cohosts were so excited to have him back after two months away.
“My heart is just bursting,” he gushed. “I’m just so thrilled to see all of you and the crew. Right now, I’m running on adrenaline.”