Hoda Kotb got emotional while remembering her late father, Abdel Kader Kotb, during an episode of Today on Wednesday, May 29.

“Today would have been my dad’s birthday,” Hoda, 59, told the audience and cohost Jenna Bush Hager during the broadcast. “I’m sure everyone who’s lost a parent at some point always knows when the birthdays roll around, no matter how many years it’s been.”

The Hope Is a Rainbow author lost her dad in 1985, when she was in college.

“I wrote down how old he would have been today. I was doing math,” she said of her late father. “He would have been 91 today. Isn’t that crazy when you think about [it]?”

“It’s funny how you mark time from there. It’s like, ‘How many years has it been? How many [birthdays]?’ You know? You remember all of the things,” she continued.

Hoda got teary eyed as Jenna, 42, pointed out that her dad would have been “so proud” of her for becoming a mom to daughters Haley and Hope. The broadcaster adopted her children during her relationship with Joel Schiffman.

During a June 2021 episode of Minnie Driver’s podcast “Minnie Questions,” Hoda recalled the moment that her brother, Adel, told her that their father died. At the time, she was at a sorority formal at Virginia Tech.

“And my brother runs in, and I was like, ‘Oh, my God, my brother always said he was gonna crash Tri Delt formals, like he and his buddy did it. And he said, ‘Come outside.’ And I said, ‘What?’ He goes, ‘Come outside, I need to talk to you, and I go, ‘No.’ I said, ‘You need to tell me,’ and he said, ‘Dad had a heart attack, and he died,” she recalled.

Hoda Kotb Breaks Down on 'Today' While Remembering Late Father
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“It was like you couldn’t even compute what was going on,” Hoda added.

The mom of two explained that losing her father very early on in her life pushed her to want to go far in her career.

“And it’s funny, it was the worst thing in the world, but I often look around where I am now and wonder,” she said. “You know you always want an ‘attagirl’ from your dad, you always want a ‘you did it.’ Throughout my career I think there were probably a few spots where he probably would’ve said, ‘Well good for you, you did it,’ and then I would’ve been done.”

“But instead when you don’t have that ‘attagirl,’ you’re like, I guess there’s more of this mountain to climb, let’s see, let’s see, let’s see. And you may keep pushing yourself for something that isn’t coming, but at the end of the day it landed me in a beautiful place,” she added. “Now I have a beautiful family, and all those great things happened as a result of it. So I think that event was really life-changing. It helped me in some ways, and it left me with unfinished business in others.”