Al Roker has finally revealed what's been keeping him away from Today for the past two weeks — a health scare that many viewers were shocked to learn about.
"Last week I was admitted to the hospital with a blood clot in my leg, which sent some clots into my lungs," he shared candidly. "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."
Blood clots can silently trigger serious heart health issues, including pulmonary embolism, strokes and heart attacks, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Even a single blood clot can increase the risk of death or serious injury caused by these events, and may lead to other complications like severe leg pain, mobility issues and the loss of a limb.
While they're increasingly common among Americans, removing blood clots often requires an invasive surgical procedure — while Al didn't confirm the details of his own ordeal, it's likely that doctors removed blood clots in his veins using a catheter, per details shared by the Mayo Clinic. Patients surgically treated for blood clots may also have a vein filter installed in their legs to minimize the risk of cardiovascular failure in the future.
Today anchors Savannah Guthrie, 50, and Hoda Kotb, 58, immediately posted messages of support for Al's recovery shortly after his announcement was shared on social media. Carson Daly, Craig Melvin and Dylan Dreyer, who has been filling in for Al in his absence, also rallied around him on Instagram.
"You're the strongest person we know. We miss you and will see you soon!" Savannah quipped, whereas Craig added, "Love you brother… can't wait to have you back!" Plus, Jenna Bush Hager: "Love you Al! Hurry home. You are missed and loved beyond measure!"
And among the hundreds of testaments of love and support from viewers, some of Al's most famous fans are also sharing well wishes. "Get well soon Al!!" wrote Food Network icon Ina Garten. "Scary stuff but nothing like great doctors!"
"Get well fast Al," added Bravo's super host Andy Cohen, quickly followed by celebrated actor Octavia Spencer: "Praying for you, dear friend!"
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) November 18, 2022
Hoda and Savannah also revealed on Friday morning's broadcast that the gang of television hosts has all been in contact with Al since his emergency hospitalization. "He's in good spirits; we've all talked to him," said Savannah, before Hoda directly added: "He's in great spirits."
The Today cast stressed how positive Al was staying given his health ordeal, with Savannah adding a personal message in case her co-anchor was watching from home.
"It's hard to slow down Al, but he's on the mend, and he's on the way to recovery," she said, addressing the camera. "I don't know if he watches this show, but we love you, Al. We miss you."
If you're wondering when Al may make a return to the program, it's seemingly too soon to tell. Fellow meteorologist Dylan Dreyer has been appearing on Today since Al's departure, and neither Dylan nor Al clarified how long the fill-in would last.
Al has been featured on Today as an anchor since 1996, moving way beyond his duties as a meteorologist and into primetime hosting duties over the years.
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