There’s a familiar face missing from this year’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
Al Roker, who has performed for Today 27 years along the iconic parade route, is not attending this year as he is recovering from blood clots in his leg and lungs that sent him to hospital earlier this month.
During NBC’s broadcast of the 96th Annual Parade on Thursday, his co-hosts of the morning show sent Roker their best wishes.
“For the past 27 parades, right now, Savannah, we would turn to Al Roker, who is our Today show colleague and our best friend,” said Hoda Kotb.” But as many of you have heard, Al is recovering – he is recovering very well from a recent medical issue. And we just want to say, we love you Al. I’m curious if you’re watching, but we wish you a full recovery.”
Savannah Guthrie also shared a heartfelt message with the Today show weather anchor before announcing that Today co-host Dylan Dreyer will take his place this year.
“We love you, Al. We’ll see you next year,” Guthrie said. And now Ms. Dylan replaces Dreyer from the Today show. She’s in town at the starting line of the parade. Hello Dylan, good morning!”
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Dreyer had some kind words for her, the weather expert. “Good morning guys and happy Thanksgiving. Al, we love you, we miss you and we’re thinking of you!”
During the broadcast, Dreyer spoke by phone with President Joe Biden and First Lady Dr. Jill Biden. In addition to wishing first responders and troops a Happy Thanksgiving, the president also acknowledged Roker.
“We’re also going to call Al to see how he’s doing,” the president told Dreyer, to which she replied, “Al’s fine.”
On Thursday, Roker shared on his Instagram that he had left the hospital. “This is my version of the Thanksgiving Day Parade – ready to leave the hospital!” he said as he walked down the hall. “Time to blow up this taco stand. Woohoo!”
He also captioned the post, “So much to be #grateful for on #thanksgivingday. Leaving the hospital and going home for #thanksgivingdinner.”
When he got home, Roker even tuned in to the parade to watch his colleagues facilitate the show by posting a selfie in front of the TV. “Home in time to see a little bit of the #macysthanksgivingdayparade,” he wrote. “I miss being next to @savannahguthrie and @hodakotb.”
Roker, who has now been absent from the NBC morning show for three weeks, provided an update on his whereabouts on Nov. 18, revealing in an Instagram post that he is receiving medical treatment for blood clots.
“So many of you have thoughtfully asked where I’ve been,” Roker, 68, captioned a photo of a bouquet of flowers. “Last week I was admitted to the hospital with a blood clot in my leg that caused some clots to go up into my lungs.”
“After some medical whack-a-mole, I’m lucky enough to receive great medical care and be on the road to recovery,” he added.
“Thanks for all the good wishes and prayers and hopefully see you soon. Have a nice weekend everyone,” he concluded.
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Smoker has been an important part Today as the program’s first weather anchor since 1996. Years prior, he acted as a replacement for the late Willard Scott.
He was last absent from the show in late September, after testing positive for COVID-19.
While Roker was dealing with his health issues, Dreyer filled in for him Today. She and co-hosts Guthrie, Kotb, Craig Melvin and Carson Daly talked about their co-host on Friday’s show.
“He’s in a good mood, we’ve all talked to him,” said Guthrie, 50, with co-anchor Kotb, 58, emphasizing: “He’s in big ghosts.”