"For the past 27 parades, at this moment, we'd turn to Al Roker, our Today show colleague and our best pal, but, as a lot of you have heard, Al's recovering, and he's recovering very well from a recent medical issue," Hoda Kotb said at the top of the annual special, referencing the 68-year-old's recent hospitalization for multiple blood clots in his leg. "We just want to say we love you, Al. Wonder if you're watching? But, we wish you a full recovery."
Savannah Guthrie, who cohosted Thursday's telecast alongside Kotb, added: "We love you, Al. We'll see you next year!"
Peter Kramer/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Al Roker gave a thumb's up at the 2021 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade
The pair then introduced Dylan Dreyer, Today's meteorologist who filled in for Roker as she covered the parade from the Upper West Side in New York City.
Roker previously announced his medical diagnosis in a Nov. 18 Instagram post, which received well-wishing comments from Octavia Spencer, Holly Robinson Peete, and The View cohost Sara Haines, among others.
"So many of you have been thoughtfully asking where I've been," the weather anchor shared. "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."
Roker was earlier diagnosed with prostate cancer in November 2020, and underwent a procedure to remove his prostate and affected lymph nodes.
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