He’s an open book. Al Roker has been honest about his health issues — but that wasn’t always the case.
In 2002, Roker didn’t initially tell his Today colleagues about his gastric bypass surgery. He admitted to USA Today later that year that he’d told them it was a gall bladder removal because he was “embarrassed,” but, weighing in over 300 pounds, Roker knew he needed to slim down for his health — and his family.
He came to the conclusion while grieving his father’s death and getting ready for wife Deborah Roberts to give birth to their second child, son Nicholas. (The meteorologist also has daughter Courtney with ex-wife Alice Bell.) Roker said he realized he couldn’t give his daughter, Leila, piggyback rides due to knee pain. He’d had his left knee replaced in 2001.
“I felt horrible. I didn’t look good. I didn’t feel good,” he said at the time.
He had the surgery and lost over 100 lbs. More than 20 years later, Roker insisted it was difficult to maintain a healthy weight.
“Every day is a struggle, every day,” the Emmy winner explained exclusively to Us Weekly in April 2022. “Anybody who struggles with their weight knows. Some days you’re up, some days you’re down, but if by the end of the week you’re OK or the same, great. As long as you’re working on it, all’s good.”
For Roker, it’s not about the number on the scale, but about making sure he remains strong.
“I don’t know if I have a goal. I just want to make sure I’m healthy,” he continued.
Unfortunately, his health struggles aren’t just weight-related. He missed the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade for the first time in 27 years in November 2022 because he was hospitalized for blood clots.
“So many of you have been thoughtfully asking where I’ve been,” he wrote ahead of iconic New York City event. “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-molale, 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.”
During NBC’s broadcast of the 96th annual parade, his fellow morning show co-hosts sent Roker well wishes.
“For the past 27 parades, at this moment, Savannah [Guthrie], we would turn to Al Roker, who is our Today show colleague and our best pal,” Hoda Kotb said. “But as a lot of you have heard, Al’s recovering — he’s recovering very well from a recent medical issue. And we just want to say, we love you Al. Wondering if you’re watching, but we wish you a full recovery.”
Roker left the hospital while the special was broadcasting live. “All right, this is my version of the Thanksgiving Day parade,” he said in a video via Instagram on Thanksgiving Day as he walked down the hospital hallway with IV ports still in each arm. “Getting ready to leave the hospital; time to blow this taco stand. Woohoo!”
One week later, Kotb shared on Today that Roker had been hospitalized again for “some complications” following his initial stay.
Scroll down to see what Roker has said about his health over the years: