Followers of Bobbie may know that Michael faced some health issues for years leading up to his death, including suffering an ischemic stroke in April 2019 when he was 40 years old. Many wondered whether Michael’s death was linked to his stroke or if another cause of death was determined. Here’s what we know about his passing, and how Bobbie has dealt with the tragedy in the time since.
What was Bobbie Thomas’s husband’s cause of death?
Bobbie had been relatively open about Michael’s health issues up until his passing, even writing a column about National Stroke Awareness Month for Today in May of 2019, just a few weeks after Michael’s stroke. She revealed that Michael had spent six weeks in the hospital following his stroke but was already working hard on his recovery.
By July 4, 2019, Michael was out of the hospital and able to attend a 4th of July parade with Bobbie and the couple’s young son, Miles. “My heart is overwhelmed with gratitude — I can't thank every enough for all of the kind words and wishes,” Bobbie wrote in the caption of a photo she posted on Instagram to mark the occasion.
Michael continued to work hard to recover from his stroke, and Bobbie said in a statement following his death that he had "had made such progress that he was making plans to return to work."
However, that was far from the end of his health journey.
Tragically, he wound up in the hospital in late 2020 and passed away on Dec. 1 of that year. Bobbie said in her statement that Michael’s most recent hospitalization was “due to problems involving several organ systems” and was “separate from his stroke of 18 months ago.” She also clarified that Michael’s hospitalization was unrelated to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. After an autopsy was performed, his cause of death was revealed to have been a bacterial infection that caused his organs to fail.
Bobbie shared a touching message and advice to people who may be experiencing their own grief at the time of her loss. "With all the fear, anger, and division going on in the world right now, it’s so easy to get upset about the lack of normalcy. But I beg you, everyone reading this, hold onto what you do have right now instead of focusing on what you don’t," she wrote on Instagram.
“One thing we all have is kindness. Absorb it, extend it, exhaust it," the style editor added at the time. Because in the end, the ONLY thing that matters is love. If you’re lucky enough to have it, please appreciate it, every moment, every day. Especially during the hard parts. There will never be enough time and some of our forevers are much too short.
Bobbie concluded her message by writing, "As I type through tears, I embrace gratitude ... holding our precious son Miles and memories, of the time I did have with Michael, closer to my broken heart. Thank you all for the love and support you’ve shown us and our families. Please go hug the people you love."
A little more than a year after Michael's passing, Bobbie returned to 'Today.'
On March 3, 2022, Bobbie came back to Today — something that she told People she was "terrified" to do.
In an interview before her return, she told the outlet: "To be honest, there’s a real anxiety and sadness about going on the show because, in a lot of ways, it’s like having to really accept that life is officially moved on."
Bobbie's return was met with much fanfare and the loving embraces of her fellow Today stars. It was also her first time back in the actual New York studios in two years.
Bobbie told anchors Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager during her March 3 return episode that "so many wonderful people have reached out" to her over the last year, including Little Big Town's Kimberly Schlapman, whose husband died from a heart attack in 2005.
Furthermore, Bobbie added that the messages she received from fans were so inspiring that she's launching a new segment of the show called "Dear Bobbie" in which she will take submissions and offer commentary on people's real-life situations.