Al Roker has not been having the greatest few months. The longtime TODAY Show standout has had a series of hospitalizations amid doctors discovering blood clots on his lungs. He has been off from for several weeks, returning on Noc. 24 just in time to spend the Thanksgiving holiday with his family. His beloved co-stars have been wishing him a speedy recovery. The NBC daytime show shared a tribute to Roker on Instagram after he was rushed back to the hospital after his brief return. He was even included in their holiday special video despite being unable to film in studio. Now, he's dealing with losing a close friend and former colleague.
Roker posted a photo of himself with former stage manager Mark Traub in remembrance to his Instagram page. "The laugh you always heard in the background for years on @todayshow was our stage manager, @mtraub2295, and when he retired, some of our spark diminished. Sadly, that light is gone after a long battle. Take care, Mark. You are so missed." Per PEOPLE Magazine, Traub died at the age of 64 due to leukemia.
Traub retired from the daytime program in 2019 after 35 years working there. He was described as the heart and soul of the crew. On his final day, he made his first on-screen appearance. "You are so much a part of the heart and soul of this place,'' Savannah Guthrie told him on-air. "I think every single one of us has a story about how you made us feel like we were OK and we belonged and we could be here, and that is huge." The anchors gave him a sweet goodbye as he walks off stage one last time into retirement that day.
While speaking for the first time on-air, Traub spoke about the importance of the show. "This has been the only place I've known as home for two-thirds of my life," he said on the episode. "My life's dream came true when I was 21 years old. It's just been amazing to have the opportunity to be part of something that is so vital to this country as this show is."