“Willie [Geist] is in for Hoda,” the Texas native, 41, explained during the Wednesday, March 1, episode of the series. “And we just want to let you all know that we heard you, and Hoda is OK. She’s just got a family health matter that she’s been dealing with.”
The Sisters First coauthor added that she and her Today colleagues are hopeful that Kotb, 58, will return to the air in the near future. “We adore her, we’re sending our love to her, and she’s going to be back, right here, very, very soon,” the University of Texas at Austin graduate assured viewers.
Geist, 47, added: “Can’t wait to see her back here. We love you very much, Hoda.”
The children’s book author hasn’t been featured on Today since February 20 when she appeared in a pre-taped episode of Today with Hoda and Jenna for Presidents’ Day. During the Monday, February 27, installment of the show, Savannah Guthrie told viewers that Kotb was “off today.”
Two days later, Craig Melvin and Sheinelle Jones filled in as both Kotb and Guthrie, 51, were missing from the anchor desk.
“We mentioned that Savannah and Hoda are both off. Savannah, she’s home after a positive COVID test yesterday. We are wishing our friend a speeding recovery,” Melvin, 43, explained. “And as for Hoda, we know a lot of you have been wondering how she’s doing. We can tell you that Hoda’s OK. She’s got a family health matter that she’s been dealing with, so we look forward to seeing Hoda and Savannah back at the desk real, real soon.”
Al Roker, the Today show weatherman, added, “We love you both.”
Kotb, for her part, hasn’t publicly commented on the situation, but fans have taken note of several cryptic social media messages she’s shared in recent days. On Monday, the Oklahoma native shared an image of the quote “Choose Hope” via Instagram accompanied by two red heart emojis.
Two days earlier, she posted a black-and-white image of a quote reading, “Sometimes miracles are just good people with kind hearts.” In her caption, she added, “Happy sunday xo.”
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In another message shared on February 24, Kotb paid tribute to the “strong women” in her life. “Here’s to strong women,” read a text-only message posted via Instagram. “May we know them. May we be them. May we raise them.”