Al Roker is opening up about the health scare he had last year as the holiday season approaches. On the Wednesday episode of Your Mama’s Kitchen, an Audible podcast hosted by journalist Michele Norris, the Today co-anchor discussed his hospitalization, due to which he missed Thanksgiving.
“It’s no secret that I had a severe medical issue, and to be completely honest, I almost died. I didn’t know it at the time,” the 69-year-old said, explaining that his loved ones wanted him to concentrate on his recovery so they didn’t tell him how close he came to death. “But I missed Thanksgiving and almost missed Christmas. And I forgot how important those touchstone moments are.”
During his hospital stay, the moment his wife, Deborah Roberts, realized he was on the road to recovery was when he emerged from a procedure under anesthesia and began enthusiastically discussing a Christmas recipe he wanted to prepare. That was when she realized, “I think he’s gonna make it.”
Roker also said that being with his family around the holidays again helped him get through the experience. “I felt, in a sense, badly because I ruined Thanksgiving for the family, and I was not going to let that happen for Christmas,” Roker shared.
When Norris told Roker he was being a bit hard on himself, he acknowledged that point and then added, “It was important to me and gave me something to push for. And I made Christmas dinner.”
Roker has been battling health issues since November 2022, when he was hospitalized with blood clots in his leg and lungs. He has been in and out of the hospital since then, forcing him to take a break from the Today show, including missing the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade for the first time in 27 years.
Following his return, the TV personality delved deeper into health scare, revealing on the Today show that he underwent an intense seven-hour surgery to “correct a bunch of internal stuff.”