Almost a week after Al Roker was forced to miss the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade due to illness, the beloved Today show anchor was also absent from the 2022 Rockefeller Christmas Tree Lighting on Wednesday. Roker is back in the hospital recovering from blood clots in his leg and his lungs, and he has not been cleared to return to work yet. While fans and colleagues missed his presence, they are also wishing him a complete recovery. Notably, Today anchor Savannah Guthrie also missed the annual Christmas tree lighting due to illness.
Roker was hospitalized earlier this month to be treated for blood clots that kept him off his feet. The 68-year-old has now been off the air for four weeks, and he returned to the hospital on Wednesday. Even if he had been cleared to work, his first day back probably shouldn't be as strenuous as the Christmas Tree lighting, which was televised by NBC News. According to the event page, the tree lighting was instead set to be hosted by Mario Lopez, with help from Today co-anchors Savannah Guthrie, Hoda Kotb and Craig Melvin. Guthrie later had to pull out of the event.
It's unclear how long Roker has been hosting the tree lighting, but earlier this month it was reported that this was the first Thanksgiving Day Parade he missed out on in the past 27 years. The beloved meteorologist typically strolls alongside the parade, stopping to say hello to various attendees and performers.
"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," Kotb said during that Thanksgiving broadcast. "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."
Still, Roker has not been completely absent from the public eye. He shared some updates from the hospital on Instagram while thanking fans for their well-wishes as well. In one post, he wrote: "So many of you have been thoughtfully asking where I've been. 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."
Last week, Roker also informed his followers that he was being released from the hospital in a triumphant video of himself walking down the hall. However, he reportedly was readmitted to the hospital a day after his initial release. It's not clear when he is expected back at work, but on Thursday morning, Kotb gave an update on Roker's status. While she said "it was wonderful hosting" the tree lighting celebration, she said that she and her Today colleagues "all wished that Al could've been with us" as she noted that "due to some complications, he is back in the hospital." According to Kotb, Roker "is in very good care. He's resting and his doctors are keeping a close eye on him." Kotb indicated that despite the hospitalization, Roker seems to be in good spirits, revealing that when she and Craig Melvin recently FaceTimed with him, Roker gave them a "big thumbs-up."