Due to health issues Al had to skip covering the annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade for the first time in the last 25 years.
Al Roker, 68, will make his return to TODAY on January 6th. Al will reunite with his co-hosts after being off the air due to medical issues since November, according to TODAY. The weatherman was admitted to the hospital due to blood clots in his legs and lungs. "After some medical whack-a-mole, I am so fortunate to be getting terrific medical care and on the way to recovery,” he wrote on Instagram at the time.
Due to these health issues, he had to skip covering the annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade for the first time in the last 25 years. Soon, he was discharged and was able to spend Thanksgiving with his family. Sharing a video on Instagram, showing him walking to the hospital exit, Al said, "All right, this is my version of a Thanksgiving Day parade — getting to leave the hospital," adding ,"Time to blow this taco stand. Woo-hoo!"
However, all was not fine yet, and he was hospitalized again. Due to his hospitalization, he missed the lighting of the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree last month. "Due to some complications, he is back in the hospital and he is in very good care," Hoda Kotb informed the viewers at the time. Kotb further added, "He’s resting and his doctors are keeping a close eye on him. Al and his family want everyone to know how grateful they are for all the love, the support, and the good wishes.”
Al finally left the hospital after his second stay on December 8th. He shared this moment of happiness in an Instagram post, sharing cheerful pictures of himself, his wife, Deborah Roberts, and their daughter, Leila. According to TODAY, Al, in a December 12 video call from home, said, "Listen, it’s been a tough slog. I’m not going to deny this." He added, “it’s been the hardest one yet, and you know I’ve had my share of surgeries. It gives you a profound sense of gratitude for this outpouring of prayers and thanks. I’m a very fortunate person.”
These tough times did not come without a few moments of joy. He was able to spend Christmas with his family and was grateful for it. He posted a family celebration picture on Instagram, with the caption, "From our family to yours," adding the hashtag "#merrychristmas." He also spoke to Entertainment Tonight about Christmas and his family and said, "My kids — look, it's different now that they're older." He continued, "Holiday shopping becomes much simpler. They're not looking for the hot toy or anything like that." He further added, "No more getting up at 6 a.m. in the morning because the little ones are up. Now it's, 'Oh, we'll get up around 9 o'clock.' And that's just great."
Al got a lot of love from his TODAY colleagues and fans. He also received a surprise visit from his TODAY co-hosts and was moved to tears. “I’ve missed you all so, so very much, all these faces,” he said. “It just means the world to me and to our family and my Deborah, who’s just been my rock. I thank you so much. I really appreciated it.”
In a few days, the team will gather again in Studio 1A and Al will be back with them.
Cover Image Source: Getty Images | Photo by Jamie McCarthy / Staff