NBC staple Al Roker had to miss the network’s coverage of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade for the first time in 27 years, after a recent health issue sidelined him from the annual event.
“For the past 27 parades, at this moment, we’d turn to Al Roker, our Today show colleague and our best pal,” co-host Hoda Kotb said at the top of Thursday’s broadcast. “But as a lot of you have heard, Al’s recovering, and he’s recovering very well from a recent medical issue. We just want to say we love you, Al. Wonder if you’re watching, but we wish you a full recovery.”
“We love you, Al. We’ll see you next year,” added co-host Savannah Guthrie. (Meteorologist Dylan Dreyer filled in for Roker.)
Roker revealed earlier this month, following noticeable absences from the Today show, that he’d been hospitalized with blood clots in his leg and lungs, but assured fans he was on the mend.
“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,” Roker shared in an Instagram 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.”
Roker has previously been transparent about other medical issues, including a prostate cancer diagnosis in November 2020. He later underwent surgery to have his prostate removed.
The weatherman has been with Today since 1990, when he occasionally filled in for Willard Scott and Bryant Gumbel. In 1996, he was promoted to the regular weekday weather slot following Scott’s retirement. He’s also gifted viewers with many memorable Macy’s Parade moments over the years, like when he was chased by a dancing stick of butter at the 2019 event.