Al Roker has faced hurricanes, extreme snowstorms, and major meteorological events, only to walk away and deliver the forecast for Today viewers. However, in late 2022, the seemingly indomitable television personality was knocked back when he was hospitalized for blood clots. “It’s been a tough slog, I’m not gonna deny this,” Al said during a Dec. 12, 2022, appearance on Today, his first time on the show following the health scare. “It’s been the hardest one yet, and you know I’ve had my share of surgeries.” Months after making his return following the surgery, Al opened up about how he’s been feeling in an October 2023 interview.
Al was not kidding. His journey has seen him battle a litany of diseases and undergo just as many surgeries. In May 2023, Al gave an update after he underwent knee surgery on May 9, 2023. The beloved weatherman underwent a “total knee replacement” procedure. “It’s stiff,” Al said of his knee. “[The surgery] was a little more complicated. It was called a revision – it was a replacement of a replacement. So they had to go in and take stuff out, put new stuff in.” Al gave love to the medical staff love for helping him recover, and said that the downtime gave him a chance to catch up on shows like Poker Face, The Mandalorian, and more.
Al also said his recovery looks like “three days a week of physical rehab. That’ll go on for a few months. I still don’t know – maybe sometime in the next two weeks, I’ll be back.” Al returned to Today after his knee surgery on May 30, 2023 and confirmed that the procedure went well.
Al is back with us this morning! 😁☀️ pic.twitter.com/D6eyRgCazL
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) May 30, 2023
On top of this, he underwent a gastric bypass in 2012, carpal tunnel surgery in 2018, shoulder surgery and hip replacement surgery in 2019, and another procedure on his shoulder in 2020. In November 2020, he revealed that he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. “It’s a good news–bad news kind of thing,” he said on Today. “Good news is we caught it early. Not-great news is that it’s a little aggressive, so I’m going to be taking some time off to take care of this.” Al underwent surgery to remove the cancer and said shortly after the procedure that “it went well.” The doctor said there were no more signs of cancer in Al, but they would continue monitoring him.
So, when Al was diagnosed with blood clots in 2022, it caused many to worry. Thankfully, he’s recovered, but what exactly went down?
Al Roker Diagnosed With Blood Clots
Al revealed on Instagram in Nov. 2022 that he was hospitalized with blood clots. “So many of you have been thoughtfully asking where I’ve been,” he captioned a photo of a bouquet of flowers. “Last week, I was admitted to the hospital with a blood clot in my leg which sent some clots into my lungs. 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. Have a great weekend, everyone.”
Al was released from the hospital on Nov. 24, two days after he revealed the diagnosis. However, he was rushed back to the hospital on Nov. 25, with Page Six reporting that he was “taken from his home in a stretcher.”
The report amplified concern for Al’s well-being. Al’s blood clot issue resulted in him missing the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. For 27 years, Al had covered the parade for NBC, but his health issues forced him to sit out in 2022.
“For the past 27 parades, at this moment, Savannah, we would turn to Al Roker, who is our TODAY Show colleague and our best pal,” Hoda Kotb said to her co-host, Savannah Guthrie. “But as a lot of you have heard, Al is 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.”
At the start of December 2022, Al revealed he was still in the hospital. “Hopefully, coming home soon, but when your spirit sags a bit, you get to see that and recharge. God Bless you all for all the prayers and well wishes for me and my family,” he captioned a photo of the sunset in New York City. He returned home on Dec. 08, and a few days later, he appeared in his kitchen on Today and gave everyone an update.
“There’s just a certain amount of weakness. I’m doing physical therapy every day and occupational therapy. I’ve got to just get my strength back,” he said. But I feel good. I feel strong. Every day I feel a little bit better. I made dinner last night. There’s gonna be a little bit of a slog, but a lot of people have to deal with a lot more with fewer resources.”
Al made his triumphant return on Jan. 6, 2023. “My heart is just bursting,” Al said. “I’m so thrilled to see all of you and the crew and everybody. Right now, I’m running on adrenaline. I’m just thrilled to be here.”
What Are Blood Clots?
Blood clots are “gel-like clumps of blood. They are beneficial when they form in response to an injury or a cut, plugging the injured blood vessel, which stops bleeding,” according to the Mayo Clinic. “Some blood clots form inside your veins without a good reason and don’t dissolve naturally. These may require medical attention, especially if they are in your legs or are in more critical locations, such as your lungs and brain. A number of conditions can cause this type of blood clot.”
Blood clots can form from an injury, or they can occur inside a blood vessel that doesn’t have obvious damage. They can travel to other body parts when they form, causing severe conditions like heart failure, stroke, pulmonary embolism, and deep vein thrombosis.
They can be treated with blood-thinning medications, per Johns Hopkins Medicine. Changes in your lifestyle – more exercise, lowering your blood pressure, changing your diet – can also help prevent blood clots from forming.
How Long Has Al Roker Been Sick?
Al has been immunocompromised for years following his multiple surgeries and his cancer diagnosis in 2020. Regarding his blood clots, he spoke about how they likely came up after he contracted COVID in September 2022. “I had two complicated things,” he said during his first day back after the hospitalizations.
“I had blood clots that they think came up after I had COVID in September,” he added. “I had this internal bleeding going on, I lost half my blood. They were trying to figure out where it was. They went in, they did the surgery, and it ended up with two bleeding ulcers. They had to resection the colon and take out my gall bladder. I went in for one operation, and I got four for free!”
How Is Al Roker Doing Today?
“It’s not lost on us that this is a major, major thing for Al to be here. He is a living, breathing miracle. He really is. I’m not overstating it,” said Al’s wife, Deborah Roberts, during his first day back on Today. “I don’t think. Al was a very, very, very sick man and I don’t think most people know that. “He was a medical mystery for weeks. It was the most tumultuous, frightening journey we have ever been on.”
On Apr. 17, 2023, Al gave an update about his health. “Hey, everybody,” he said while taking a walk through Central Park. “Hope you’re having a great afternoon. Weather is spectacular, and I’m out here in the park, getting my steps in, taking my time.” Al was just as cheerful as he’s ever been, getting her exercise while promoting the Start Today Wellness Get Together in Sonoma Valley.
Shortly thereafter, he shared his “wellness routine” for the event with fans. NBC shared with ET on April 21 that the event will include “enlightening conversations, wellness-focused activities and outdoor excursions.” And Al himself said walking and sleeping are part of the regimen that’s helped him on his path to wellness.
“Well, my doctor told me he wanted me walking five miles a day, call him at the end of the week,” he told the outlet. “I called him, he said, ‘Where are you?’ I said, ‘I’m 35 miles from home!'” After so much exertion, healthy sleep habits are also crucial to a good routine, he added.
“One thing I think we all kinda grapple with, and these guys probably more than me because they’ve got younger kids, is getting sleep,” he told ET. “You know how important a good night’s sleep is for your mental health, your physical health? Your body repairs itself, your mind repairs itself when you sleep. You cannot catch up on sleep and that has been my biggest goal, I think, in the beginning of the new year, is to try to get a minimum of six to seven hours of sleep a day.”
Finally, he said, a little something for the soul. “What I will say is, one of the things I learned over the last several months is the power of positive thinking and the power of prayer,” Al told the outlet elsewhere in the interview. “The number of prayers that came my way and my family’s way, for Deborah and my kids, I know made a tremendous difference. And once you have a bit of a health scare, you really realize you can’t take it for granted. So, I try and eat a little better [and] exercise a little more.”
Al’s wife Deborah opened up about the health scare during an interview on The View on May 2, 2023. “He wouldn’t be alive without the doctors. It was a very, very frightening ride for my family. The most frightening thing I think we’ve ever been through. He was gravely, gravely ill, but thank God, through prayer and support and family and tribes of friends, and doctors, and great nurses, he is on the recovery,” she said.
Deborah continued and revealed that he was feeling much better, in fact that he’d even joked about getting on her nerves after the recovery. “In fact, he started to drive me crazy again, and he said, ‘This is what you prayed for! I’m back!'” she said. “He’s doing well. Thank you for asking,”
Now that Al’s been back for quite a few months, he seems like he’s made a full recovery. When he was asked how he was feeling during a Halloween interview with Entertainment Tonight, he revealed what inspired him to keep fighting. “I’m doing great, doing great. I tell you, the thing that’s kept me going is I’ve had a new granddaughter,” he said.
How Is Al’s Knee?
After the surgery, Al appeared to be in good spirits and was even smiling in a May 10, 2023 Instagram video he shared of himself walking with the help of a walker, which can be seen below. “Up and walking this morning on the #newknee #stepbystep,” he wrote.
His wife, Deborah, once again updated fans about Al’s health on Sunday, May 21, 2023 — this time, it was about his knee. “Thank you all so much for being so concerned about him and so interested in his well-being,” she said during an Instagram Live session. “As many of you know he had a knee re-replacement, so a knee that had been replaced many many years ago had problems and had to be re-replaced.”
“It makes it slowgoing, it makes it a little tougher. It was a harder surgery, so it’s a little bit harder to snap back from but he’s doing pretty well, moving a little slowly,” she said, making sure not to sugarcoat things.
Speaking on behalf of her husband, she added, “He wants to just say thank you to everybody who has asked about him. Thank you all so much, you have all been so kind and so generous and just so caring and compassionate about my family over these last several months as we’ve gone through a few things.”
Deborah also revealed that Al is certainly trying to get back to work as soon as possible — and is even putting more pressure on himself than she is happy with. “Al is chomping at the bit to try to get back to work, but the doctor just wants him to take it slowly so that he can continue to heal well,” she continued. “So on Al’s behalf and our family’s behalf thank you so much and I’m sure he’ll be popping up soon.”
Al received a warm welcome back on Today from his co-anchors Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb on May 30. Al joked he’s got “a new wheel” after his surgery. “We’re putting it to use,” he said. “It’s all good. Good to see you guys. And good to see you folks.”