Al Roker made a triumphant return to the TODAY Show on Monday, Dec. 12.
In a virtual appearance following a series of health woes, the weatherman made a guest appearance to update fans and his colleagues from his home.
The 68-year-old has spent the past month in and out of New York-Presbyterian Hospital, noting, “Listen, it’s been a tough slog. I’m not going to deny this. It’s been the hardest one yet, and you know I’ve had my share of surgeries.”
He added, “It gives you a profound sense of gratitude for this outpouring of prayers and thanks. I’m a very fortunate person.”
He admitted that the support from his family, his friends at TODAY, and fans all over the world has been lifting his spirits.
“You guys have been terrific coming by the hospital,” he said, joking, “Hoda (Kotb) was actually, I think, named as an honorary doctor. She would literally show up. She did a ‘Ho-dini,’ the way she would just be there.”
Roker—who has not been cleared to return to work yet—is making his recovery a priority, including regaining his strength.
“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,” he said. “It’s just a certain amount of weakness. I’m doing physical therapy every day, occupational therapy. I’ve got to just get my strength back.
He also admitted that he is considering getting a knee replacement next month, which would extend his absence from the morning show.
“I’ve got a number of issues, but I feel good, I feel strong, and every day I feel a little bit better,” he continued. “I made dinner last night. I just feel like this is going to be a little bit of a slog, but there are a lot of people who have to deal with a lot more with a lot fewer resources. I’m very fortunate and very blessed to be able to have the resources I’ve had.”
As Parade previously reported, Roker was admitted to the hospital earlier this year due to an issue with blood clots in his leg and lungs. The hospital stay caused him to miss the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, marking his first time in 27 years not hosting the event.
He was discharged from the hospital on Thanksgiving Day, noting it was just in time for dinner, but he was hospitalized again one day after his release. After he was rushed back via ambulance, his condition “improved” during his stay at the hospital.
On Dec 9, a day after he shared a hopeful Instagram update, he celebrated that he was finally “home.” The uplifting Instagram post featured a snap of Roker smiling ear to ear while back at home. His wife, ABC journalist Deborah Roberts, and daughter Leila also appeared in the shots.
“So incredibly grateful to family, friends, medical folks, @todayshow family and all your thoughts and prayers,” Roker added in his caption.
Roker has been continuously sharing his journey with fans and followers on social media. On Dec. 12, he shared gratitude to his wife, noting that she channels her inner journalist when talking to his doctors.
“What’s been great, when the doctors come in, her journalistic chops (kick in). He’ll go, ‘So, do you have any questions?’ And she whips out a list of about 20 questions and then the doctor says, ‘Uh, you?’ ‘Uh, no I’m good myself,'” he quipped.
We’re wishing Roker a speedy recovery!