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Al Roker brought to tears by surprise visit from 'Today' family

Roker missed the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lighting and Thanksgiving Day parade, so his "Today" show family decided to bring some holiday cheer to him.
Credit: Greg Allen/Invision/AP
Al Roker attends NBC's Today show 70th anniversary celebration at The Paley Center for Media on Wednesday, May 11, 2022, in New York. (Photo by Greg Allen/Invision/AP)

WASHINGTON — While Al Roker is continuing his recovery after spending four weeks in the hospital, the "Today" show decided to stop by his house this week for a special holiday surprise. 

Dozens of "Today" staffers and crew members, clad in Santa Claus hats, gathered outside his door to sing some Christmas songs. 

The surprise brought Roker to tears

"I’ve missed you all so, so very much, all these faces," Roker told the crowd. "It just means the world to me and to our family and my Deborah, who’s just been my rock. I just thank you so much. I really appreciate it."

Earlier this week, Roker made his first appearance on the "Today" show in more than a month to give fans an update on how he's doing.

"Listen, it's been a tough slog. I'm not going to deny this. This has been the hardest one yet and you know, I've had my share of surgery. But it gives you a profound sense of gratitude for this outpouring of prayers and thanks, I'm a very fortunate person," Roker described. 

Roker was first hospitalized last month because of blood clots in his leg and lungs. He was initially released on Thanksgiving, but was reportedly rushed back to the hospital a day later due to "complications." He returned home last Thursday. 

The health issues also caused Roker to miss the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lighting and to miss his first Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in 27 years.

During Monday's check-in, Roker thanked his co-hosts for stopping by the hospital and joked that Hoda Kotb "was actually I think named an honorary doctor, she would just show up." 

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When will Al Roker be back on the 'Today' show?

Asked on Monday about what the real doctors are saying about when he could possibly return to "Today," Roker explained that he needs to work on getting his strength back first, after spending four weeks in the hospital. 

"I feel good, I feel strong and every day I feel a little bit better," Roker said. "I made dinner last night and I just feel like there's going to be a little bit of a slog, but there are a lot of people who have to do with a lot more, with a lot fewer resources."

Roker also thanked his doctors at New York Presbyterian and even earned some kudos for his new mustache.

Back in 2020, Roker was off the air for a couple weeks after undergoing surgery to have his prostate removed. Roker revealed at the time that he had been diagnosed with prostate cancer but that they had caught it early. Roker explained at the time that he decided to publicly share his diagnosis to encourage others — particularly Black men, who studies indicate face greater risk — to ensure they see a doctor and get the proper checkups to stop a cancer that is very treatable if detected early.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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