Robin Roberts has bumped up her medical leave a day early. Roberts, who’d planned to depart “Good Morning America” on Friday, will instead exit after Thursday morning’s show.
Roberts has been diagnosed with the blood and bone-marrow disease myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), and is preparing for a bone marrow transplant from her older sister Sally-Ann, a local news anchor in New Orleans. Roberts is expected to check into the hospital on Tuesday.
ABC News reports that Roberts is leaving early in order to “fly home to Mississippi to be with her ailing mother, Lucimarian, and her family in the hurricane zone.”
“The greatest tragedy is to have the experience and miss the meaning,” Roberts said on Thursday. “I am determined not to miss that meaning because through it I have discovered that I have been given many gifts, gifts that will carry me through this difficult time. ”
Oprah Winfrey, Chris Rock, Katie Couric, Rob Lowe, Kelly Ripa, Barbara Walters, Diane Sawyer and the cast of “Modern Family” are expected to fill-in as co-hosts while Roberts undergoes treatment.
“This means so much [that] these friends are stepping up like this,” Roberts said. “I love them for that!”
Country singer Martina McBride flew in to perform a special tribute to Roberts on Thursday’s program. Her co-anchors Josh Elliott, Sam Champion, George Stephanopoulos and Lara Spencer presented her with special gifts, including pajamas for the hospital and a bell to ring if she needs assistance.
There’s no time frame on how long Roberts will be gone from “GMA.”
“I will be back, you know,” she promised. “This is just see you later. See you soon. I will get back as fast as I can.”