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Beloved Today anchor Al Roker headed home from the hospital on Thanksgiving Day after a brief stay. The newscaster kept fans updated on his condition on social media amid his ongoing health battle. Keep scrolling to get details on Al’s hospitalization and recovery.
Why Was Al Roker in the Hospital?
After missing several consecutive episodes of Today in November, Al revealed the reason behind his absence from the NBC program on Instagram.
“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 on November 18. “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.”
During his time off from the show, several of his costars filled in for him at the news desk, including NBC’s Jacob Soboroff. On November 24, the meteorologist shared a video announcing that he was being discharged from the hospital.
"All right, this is my version of a Thanksgiving Day parade — getting to leave the hospital," Al said in the video while walking down the hospital hallway. "Time to blow this taco stand. Woohoo!"
Once home, the broadcaster was able to catch some of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on television, the event he has hosted in person in New York City for the past 27 years. Dylan Dreyer filled in for him, helping kick off the parade at the starting line uptown while Hoda Kotb and Savannah Guthrie assumed their annual hosting duties downtown. The trio all gave shout-outs to Al during the broadcast, marking his first time missing the festivities in nearly three decades.
"For the past 27 parades, at this moment, Savannah, we would turn to Al Roker, who is our Today show colleague and our best pal," Hoda told viewers. "But as a lot of you have heard, Al's recovering — he's recovering very well from a recent medical issue. And we just want to say, we love you, Al. Wondering if you're watching, but we wish you a full recovery."
Just 24 hours after announcing he was brought home on Thanksgiving Day, Al was rushed back to the hospital, according to Page Six. An ambulance came to take the weatherman to a hospital in upper Manhattan. Multiple sources reported that as her husband was being taken away on a stretcher, his wife, Deborah Roberts, had to break into her own Tesla to retrieve personal items she left in the vehicle. The car was experiencing a malfunction that left her unable to open the doors and follow the ambulance to the hospital.
The family was staying at their Upper East Side apartment at the time of the incident. Onlookers saw Deborah eventually hop in a taxi with one of her daughters to head to the hospital to be by her husband’s side. An insider told the outlet that Al's condition was "improving" after heading back to the hospital for the second time.
Due to his hospitalization, Al missed the annual lighting of the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree on Wednesday, November 30. The following day, Hoda gave an update on his condition.
"We all wish that Al could have been with us but due to some complications, he is back in the hospital and he's in very good care," she told viewers. "He's resting and his doctors are keeping a close eye on him."
The Oklahoma native and her costar Craig Melvin FaceTimed Al from the event. "Al and his family want everybody to know how grateful they are for all the love, the support and the well wishes," she continued. "He gave us a big thumbs up. So good to see ya, [Al]!"
When Did Al Roker Return to 'Today'?
While it was not immediately certain when the TV personality would be returning in person to Today, Savannah hinted that her longtime costar would be back after the holidays.
“We love you, Al,” she said during the parade. “We’ll see you next year.”
On January 3, Savannah, Hoda and Craig announced that Al would be returning to work on January 6.
"It was like, ‘when, when?’ Well, we have our day. He’ll be here Friday," Hoda explained. "He’ll be right here in Studio 1A. This is his place. He’ll be in his seat right where he belongs. We cannot wait for that."
Savannah went on to say that the show was "not the same without Al." On January 6, Al got a warm introduction from Hoda and Savannah during his big return to the series.
"My heart is just bursting," he told his costars. "I'm just so thrilled to see all of you and the crew. Right now I'm running on adrenaline."
Does Al Roker Have Kids?
Along with his Today costars and longtime fans, Al’s family was rallying around him during his recovery. The Ruthless Tide author shared a family photo on Instagram with Deborah and their kids, Courtney, Leila and Nicholas prior to his second hospitalization.
“So very #thankful to be able to be home for #Thanksgiving #dinner with #family,” he wrote alongside the picture.
On December 12, the newscaster made his first virtual appearance on the program since leaving the hospital. During the segment filmed in the kitchen of his home, Al gave an honest update on his recovery.
"It's been a tough slog, I'm not going to deny this," he admitted. "This has been the hardest one yet — and you know, I've had my fair share of surgeries. But it gives you a profound sense of gratitude for this outpouring of prayers and thanks. I'm a very fortunate person."
He thanked his cohosts for coming to visit him while he was in the hospital along with his family who has been by his side at home. As for returning to the Today studio in Rockefeller Center, the dad of three explained that he was working hard to get back.
"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," he said before explaining 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."