COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Beloved “Today” show weatherman Al Roker made his triumphant return to the airwaves Friday morning after recovering from serious health issues.
Roker was joined in Studio 1A by his wife Deborah Roberts, a news correspondent for rival network ABC, to talk about the terrifying journey their family experienced while her husband was in and out of the hospital.
The “Today” show stalwart began with an emotional acknowledgment of his warm welcome from fellow staff.
“My heart is just bursting,” Roker said. “I’m just 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.”
His wife then gave details of their family’s ordeal.
“It’s not lost on us that this is a major, major thing for Al to be here,” Roberts said while surrounded by the show’s co-anchors. “He is a living, breathing miracle. He really is. And I have to say, I’m not overstating it — I don’t think — Al was a very, very, very sick man. And I think most people did not know that.”
Roberts also shared that her husband’s dire condition was a “medical mystery” and took a team to “figure out what was happening.”
“It was the most tumultuous, frightening journey we have ever been on,” revealed Roberts about the months around the holidays Roker was ill. “I mean, there was just so much that had to be done and a surgery, if you don’t mind me saying, a major, major surgery. And we were just on pins and needles, every day.”
One bright spot Roberts shared was when she knew Roker would survive.
“He said, ‘I’m going to make a spatchcock turkey for Christmas,’” Roberts said the 68-year-old told her through a very scratchy voice. “And I didn’t know whether to burst into tears or just to beam. I mean, that was the moment for me.
“I’m sitting here hoping he’s going to make it to Christmas and he wants to make a turkey, and I just knew at that point, that will, that drive, is so strong.”
Roker’s medical issues began in November when it was discovered he had blood clots in his legs and lungs.
He was hospitalized preventing him from covering the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade for the first time in more than 25 years, according to the network. Roker was briefly released from the hospital only to return for a month-long stay, which then caused him to miss the lighting of the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree.
In December, Roker was finally sent home to recuperate and made an unexpected appearance on the “Today” show when a clip aired of his coworkers making a surprise visit on his doorstep, serenading him with Christmas carols.
Roker said the credit for his survival should go to his wife.
“What Deborah did the most for me was, I had no idea how bad off I was,” he said. “I thought I was doing pretty good.”