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Al Roker and wife Deborah Roberts mourn family pet's heartbreaking death: 'We had to say goodbye'

The Today Show anchor and his ABC News reporter wife also share two children

Ahad Sanwari
Ahad Sanwari - New York
Senior WriterNew York
1 day ago
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Al Roker and Deborah Roberts are mourning the loss of a beloved family member — their family pet, Pepper, who died on Monday at the age of 12.

The Today Show anchor, 69, and the ABC News journalist, 63, made an appearance hours earlier at Literacy Partners Evening of Readings & Gala Dinner, where they were honored with the Spirit of Literacy Award. Other attendees included Ethan Hawke and Viola Davis with their spouses, which HELLO! attended.

However, while they maintained a cheerful appearance at the dinner, even joining co-host Craig Melvin and his wife Lindsay, they broke the news on Tuesday morning that their dog had passed.

Al Roker has fans talking with adorable video of family dog Pepper

Al shared a compilation of photos and videos of their adorable pet, who had grown up before their very eyes, and alongside their two children Leila, 25, and Nick, 21 (Al is also a dad to Courtney Roker Laga with his first wife).

"12 years ago, this sweet little girl named Pepper changed our lives," he gushed. "Yesterday, we had to say goodbye. While our hearts are heavy, they are also fuller because of all the love she bestowed on everyone who got to meet her."

They were inundated with condolences and sweet messages, with many commenters emphasizing how hard it can be to lose a family pet. The couple adopted Pepper from a Pennsylvania rescue facility back in 2012, and she quickly became a valued member of the family.

View post on Instagram
 

She's even made several appearances on Today, alongside Al when he provided the weather forecasts during the initial Covid-19 induced lockdown at home, with Pepper quietly sitting on his lap while he spoke.

It was last month that Deborah took to Instagram to share an update on Pepper, who had to undergo emergency surgery and gave the family "quite a scare," and had to be put in a protective cone.

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"Gratitude," she penned at the time. "My heart is bursting with it today. Our littlest girl, Pepper, gave us quite a scare. She has survived an emergency surgery." 

Photo shared by Deborah Roberts on May 5, 2024 sharing with fans that her and Al Roker's dog Pepper had unexpectedly collapsed and was recovering after emergency surgery© Instagram
Pepper passed away at the age of 12 on Monday, June 10

"But thankfully, our strong girl is recovering. We are grateful for any and all prayers for our sweet doggie who has stolen our hearts for 12 years now."

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Al wrote on his Instagram as well: "Our little girl, Pepper had emergency surgery but is on the mend. She's getting great care and is coming home tomorrow. Woof. You can sleep on our bed as much as you want"

Photo shared by Deborah Roberts on May 5, 2024 sharing with fans that her and Al Roker's dog Pepper had unexpectedly collapsed and was recovering after emergency surgery© Instagram
She recently had to undergo emergency surgery, but was on the mend shortly after

Over time, they reported that Pepper had been slowly but surely recovering, even sharing the sweet gesture from her alma mater, the University of Georgia, which had sent a care package for their little fur baby courtesy of their veterinary school.

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"Joyful #gratitude when your thoughtful Alma mater @universityofga and its vet school send a get well package to your recovering fur baby," the 20/20 co-host gushed. 

Deborah Roberts with the family pet Pepper© Instagram
"While our hearts are heavy, they are also fuller because of all the love she bestowed on everyone who got to meet her."

"Happy to report that Pepper is healing and feeling well. So many thanks to everyone who has sent good wishes and #prayer her way."

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