And how his wife played an instrumental role in his recovery.
Al Roker is opening up about his health journey once again. Last year, the beloved TODAY show co-host spent a number of weeks in the hospital and ended up having to miss his first Thanksgiving Day parade in 27 years. Thankfully, he made a full recovery — but he recently revealed the full depths of his health complications went much deeper than the public, and even Roker himself, knew at the time.
What happened to Al Roker?
Last November, Roker was hospitalized after blood clots in his legs traveled to his lungs. He was released from the hospital on Thanksgiving Day, only to be re-admitted in December after having some complications. “I had two complicating things,” Roker explained on the TODAY show. “I had blood clots, which they think came up after I had COVID in September. And then I had this internal bleeding going on, I lost half my blood. They were trying to figure out where it was.” Roker’s doctors discovered he had bleeding ulcers, so they removed his gallbladder, resectioned his colon, and operated on part of his small intestine.
All in all, the TODAY show vet was out of work for two months. Still, he said he considered himself “a very fortunate person” and was grateful for the words of support from his fans and TODAY show family: “It gives you a profound sense of gratitude for this outpouring of prayers and thanks,” he said.
Roker said he “almost died” from severe complications
Roker had his share of difficulties last year, but he revealed in a new podcast that even he wasn’t aware of how serious things were. In January of 2023, when he returned to the TODAY show, he joked. “I went in for one operation, I got four free.”
Roker discussed his health scare on a recent episode of the Your Mama’s Kitchen podcast, saying, “One of the things that I have a new appreciation [for], late last year, during Thanksgiving and Christmas — it’s no secret I had a severe medical issue. And to be completely [honest], I almost died.”
He said his wife Deborah and daughter Leila shielded him from the scary reality of his complications, saying they “Were really instrumental in keeping that away from me so I can concentrate” on his recovery. Roker has spoken before about how his wife helped him maintain a positive outlook. He told TODAY upon his return to the show earlier this year, “I’m a living example of ignorance is bliss. I was able to put all my energy into recuperating because I didn’t know how bad this was. … I thought I was doing good!”
Roker learned he was going to be a grandfather while in the hospital
Despite his hospitalization being such a terrifying time, Roker did get some good news: He learned that his oldest daughter was pregnant with his first grandchild, Sky. Roker’s wife, Deborah Roberts, said on a recent episode of The Kelly Clarkson Show that knowing he was going to be a grandfather helped aid Roker’s recovery. “It’s been a progression, but you’ve just gotten stronger and stronger,” Roberts said of her husband.
Not too long ago, Roker posted a sweet video of his granddaughter to Instagram. In the video, Roker says “Good morning!” while the sound of pots banging can be heard in the background. But the noise doesn’t disturb Sky, who sweetly smiles.
Roker and Roberts overcame frightening challenges, but seem to have emerged grateful and with a sense of humor about it all. Roberts said on The Kelly Clarkson Show that she has a new perspective on the everyday frustrations of marriage: “Now when he drops his underwear and his stuff on the floor or whatever and I want to get upset with him, I’m just like, ‘You Know …'”
“I could have been dead,” Roker cut in. “It’s your fault — you saved me, sorry!”