In a touching tribute, the TODAY family remembered the infectious laugh and caring devotion of longtime senior stage manager Mark Traub following his death at 64 from leukemia on Dec. 6.
Traub, who was diagnosed with cancer 18 months ago, was an integral presence on TODAY for 35 years. He received an emotional send-off and a champagne toast live on the show when he retired in 2019 after a 40-year career with NBC that began as a page.
The anchors shared their memories of Traub as a montage of photos played on TODAY Dec. 7. He was often recognized for his booming laugh that could be heard in the background during silly moments on TODAY over the years.
"I think when you look at those pictures you can see why he is so beloved," Savannah Guthrie said on TODAY. "He was so generous with his laugh, and he was so generous to all of us, and I have to say just this morning, our hearts are broken.
"So many of our crew, their hearts are hurting, too, because he meant so much to us. He was so devoted to all of us in a way that was so meaningful. And we needed him."
During his NBC career, Traub worked on soap operas, sports and "Saturday Night Live" in addition to TODAY.
He loved travel, books, movies and cheering for the New York Yankees and the New York Giants. Traub was also a devoted husband to Lisa, his college sweetheart and wife of 33 years.
"He took care of us," Hoda Kotb said on TODAY. "You felt cared for and looked after."
Traub had a particularly close bond with Al Roker. The TODAY weatherman was not on the show Wednesday as he recovers from some recent health issues, but he shared a heartfelt remembrance of Traub on Instagram.
"The laugh you always heard in the background for years on @todayshow was our stage manager, @mtraub2295 and when he retired, some of our spark diminished," Al captioned a photo of the two of them. "Sadly, that light is gone after a long battle. Take care , Mark. You are so missed."
"Loved Mark so much! What a gentleman and a delight. 😢" Al's wife, Deborah Roberts, commented on his Instagram post.
Savannah also shared a remembrance of Traub on Instagram.
"This beautiful soul has left us," she wrote. "Mark Traub was generous with his heart and his expertise and most of all, his delightful laugh. He was the heart and soul of our studio for nearly 40 years. So sad that he has passed. All our love and prayers for his devoted wife, Lisa and family. ❤️"
Katie Couric shared her own tribute to the late stage manager, whom she called the "heart and soul" of TODAY, and said they remained friends through the years.
"Thank you Mark for being such a kind, decent, intelligent and caring man," she wrote on Instagram. "You were great at your job and great at this thing called life. Enjoy yours, everyone. Things can change in an instant. 💔
Dylan Dreyer also shared some special words for Traub in an Instagram post.
“There are some people who just bring light into the world. I remember the nerves I felt when I first started at Today Show but Mark made me feel like I belonged,” Dreyer wrote, adding that his infectious laugh made her feel like she was funny too.
“Mark, I wish I got the chance to say goodbye. You will be missed by everyone who knew you. Heaven has received an angel,” she concluded.
This article was originally published on TODAY.com