Al Roker had a tough day yesterday, attending the funereal of his longtime friend and mentor, TODAY weatherman Willard Scott, which fell on the 20th anniversary of 9/11. Al posted pictures of the program from the funeral service, which featured a smiling shot of Scott holding an umbrella on its cover, along with a heartfelt message.
"Attended the #homegoing #celebration of #willardscott. It was an emotional day on top of the #20thanniversary of #911 and the passing of @debrobertsabc mom, Ruth Roberts 6 years ago," he wrote on Instagram, referencing his wife Deborah Roberts' mother.
Scott, a legendary weatherman who worked for NBC for 65 years, died peacefully at the age of 87 earlier this month. Known for starting the tradition of wishing centenarians a happy 100th birthday on air, Scott's outsized personality made him a favorite among fans. He was a weatherman at TODAY from 1980 until 1996 when he semi-retired and became a mentor to Al, who called Scott his "second dad."
"We lost a beloved member of our @todayshow family this morning," Al captioned a series of pictures of him and Scott. "Willard Scott passed peacefully at the age of 87 surrounded by family, including his daughters Sally and Mary and his lovely wife, Paris. He was truly my second dad and am where I am today because of his generous spirit. Willard was a man of his times, the ultimate broadcaster. There will never be anyone quite like him."
Al also posted tributes to the 20th anniversary of 9/11, which happened to be on the same day as the funereal of his mentor and friend.
"On my way to #washingtondc and struck by the view of downtown as we fly past #groundnzero," Al wrote. Later that day, he shared a photo of firemen raising an American flag in the rubble.