The Rocker Surprised “Today” After the Health Scare: Watch the Sweet Moment
Al Roker feels even more loved after getting a Christmas surprise from his “Today” show mates while at home recovering from a health scare.
The “Today” show has long since reported that the 68-year-old weatherman has missed work duties over the past month after spending several stints in the hospital due to medical complications. Rucker developed blood clots that traveled to his lungs.
He came home last week and made his first appearance on the show around Monday, but he hasn’t returned to work yet. So Rocker’s classmates decided to bring him some holiday cheer.
“When the Rockefeller tree was lit last December, it felt like it was missing its brightest star: our very own Al Roker,” Savannah Guthrie said in a segment broadcast Wednesday. “Throughout his month-long hospital stay, we’ve all been waiting for the day when we can wrap our arms around the sunshine. Well, we couldn’t wait any longer.”
previously:Al Roker is hospitalized again with “some complications” after the blood clot has recovered
Rucker’s wife, Deborah Roberts, served as the “secret partner” for the “Today Show” cast as they set out to surprise their co-worker. Dozens, including Guthrie, Hoda Kotb, Jenna Bush Hager, Craig Melvin, Chenelle Jones, Dylan Dreyer and the show’s staff and crew, donned red Santa hats and stood outside the Rocker’s door singing “Jingle Bells” and taking “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” which replaced “I’ll be home” with “Al”.
Rucker, who was casually dressed in a sweatshirt from his alma mater, SUNY Oswego, broke down in tears. But he did not miss a moment.
“I’m impressed you did it without a navigator,” he joked. “I just want to thank all of you. It’s been a long, hard job and I’ve missed you so much. All these faces – they mean the world to me and our family. Deborah has just been my rock and I just thank you so much.”
Qutb told him, “We love you very much, Al.” “Everybody couldn’t wait to come out and sing for you.”
more:Al Roker’s first television appearance since hospitalization: “Every day I feel a little better”
Appearing live on “Today” Wednesday morning, Kotb reflected that she had never seen Rucker in the emotional state he was in when she surprised him.
“I think he’s realized — he knows he’s loved, but I think sometimes you have to know how much that is,” she said.
Guthrie added, “It’s hard. Boy, what he’s been through is so hard and seeing and knowing how much he was loved — that means a lot to us, too.”
On Monday, Rocker, shaking a salt-and-pepper mustache, almost checked in with his “Today” co-stars from his kitchen to talk about his hospital stay and when he might return to the show.
“You lose a certain amount of muscle mass for each week you’re in the hospital. I was in the hospital for four weeks,” he said, noting that he does physical and occupational therapy to help regain his strength.
But he added that he feels relieved. “I feel strong and every day I feel a little better.”
Rucker’s medical scare led him to miss hosting the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade on November 24, making it his first absence from that main event in 26 years. Meteorologist NBC Dreyer did the intervention for him.
Blood clots, or deep vein thrombosis, most commonly occur in the leg but can also develop in the arm, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. “Part of the clot, called an embolus, can break off and travel to the lungs,” which can cut off blood flow to the lungs.
Rucker has sat on the “Today” weather show desk since 1996 and has been transparent about medical matters in the past.
In 2020, Rucker announced his diagnosis of prostate cancer in order to highlight the number of men who have been diagnosed with the disease.
Contributing: Elise Briscoe, Amy Hanlin, Sydney Henderson, and Morgan Hines
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