Hoda Kotb returned to the “Today” show Monday and revealed the mysterious “family health matter” that led to her extended absence.
“My youngest [daughter], Hope, was in the ICU for a few days and in the hospital for more than a week,” the news anchor explained to co-host Savannah Guthrie at the top of the show.
“I’m so grateful she’s home,” the 58-year-old continued. “We are watching her closely. I am just so happy.”
Kotb went on to express gratitude for those who “helped” during the 3-year-old’s health scare, including Guthrie.
“I’m grateful for the doctors and the nurses,” she gushed, tearing up. “I’m grateful to my family and to friends like you who were there every single day.”
Craig Melvin first told concerned viewers on March 1 that Kotb was dealing with a “family health matter” after she had been off the air for nearly two weeks without explanation.
“We know a lot of you have been wondering how she’s doing,” the “3rd Hour” co-host, 43, said at the time. “We can tell you that Hoda is OK, [but] she’s got a family health matter that she’s been dealing with.”
Melvin added that the show’s team was looking “forward to seeing Hoda and Savannah [Guthrie] back here at the desk very, very soon,” referring to Guthrie, 51, being sidelined due to her third COVID-19 diagnosis.
“We love you both,” Al Roker added while he, Melvin and Sheinelle Jones all blew air-kisses to the camera.
Kotb’s “Today with Hoda & Jenna” co-anchor, Jenna Bush Hager, echoed Melvin’s statement later that morning.
“Willie [Geist] is in for Hoda, and we just want to let you all know that we heard you, and Hoda is OK,” Bush Hager, 41, said during the show’s fourth hour.
“She just has a family health matter she is dealing with,” she reiterated.
Bush Hager and Geist, 47, added that they “love” and “adore” Kotb while eagerly awaiting her return.
The veteran broadcast journalist last appeared on a live broadcast on Feb. 17. Her podcast, “Making Space,” also pressed pause on releasing new episodes each Monday.
Kotb also took a break from posting her usual family photos and news stories on Instagram, instead sharing only inspirational quotes.
The quotes were about choosing “hope” and staying “strong” and “brave” amid “dark clouds.”
Kotb shares daughters Hope and Haley, 5, with her ex-fiancé, Joel Schiffman.
The former couple broke off their engagement in December 2021, but they continue to co-parent their girls. The mom of two raved to People about having created a “healthy mix” with the “great dad” last August.
“He’ll have a Saturday, and I’ll do the Sunday. We switch each week,” she explained at the time. “He’ll take the girls and do some fun things, and I’ll take some quiet time.”
“They love it,” she added of Haley and Hope.
During Kotb’s “Today” and “Today with Hoda & Jenna” absences, several members of different news teams filled in for her.
“3rd Hour” co-anchors Melvin and Jones, 44, both helped out alongside longtime “Today” show weatherman Roker, 68.
“World News Tonight” anchor Tom Llamas and Carson Daly also had more active roles in recent weeks.
Jones and Geist were the only two people to co-host alongside Bush Hager for the fourth-hour show.