updated 02/20/2013 AT 7:00 AM ET
•originally published 02/20/2013 AT 7:50 AM ET
A standing ovation from her crew greeted Robin Roberts at the door of the ABC Times Square studio of Good Morning America, even before the sun rose Wednesday – exactly five months after the anchor had a bone marrow transplant to treat myelodysplastic syndrome, or MDS, a rare blood disorder.
Outside, in the street, a crowd of fans had already gathered with placards, banners and even an ebullient fellow from Dallas waving what he called the world’s largest wristband, hailing his heroine. It read, “Welcome Back Robin.”
Once the show hit the air, Roberts, with her colleagues surrounding her, looked into the camera, broke into a great big smile, and announced: “Hi, it’s Robin. I’ve been waiting 174 days to do this: Good Morning America!”
Said her co-anchor George Stephanopoulos: “We’ve been waiting for that drumroll. It is official now. Welcome back, Robin.”
From Jimmy Kimmel and Bradley Cooper, sitting at Kimmel’s talk show desk in Hollywood: “Welcome back, girlfriend.” Also chiming in as the show played on: Oprah Winfrey, and then Hillary Clinton, who said good-naturedly she had no job prospects at the moment so would be free to watch Roberts.
The rival Today show sent a gift basket and made a significant donation to the charity that facilitates finding bone-marrow matches.