Tom Skilling to undergo gastric bypass surgery

Tom Skilling

Tom Skilling, Chicago television’s superstar meteorologist, says he will undergo gastric bypass surgery Wednesday in an effort to lose weight.

“I’ve been working over the past half-year to get ready for this,” Skilling announced on Facebook Saturday. “I am actually relieved the moment to get this under way nears.”

Skilling, 68, will be on medical leave from his duties as chief meteorologist at Nexstar Media Group WGN-Channel 9, starting Tuesday. He said he expects to be out from four to six weeks.

WGN officials declined to comment, citing confidentiality rules.

“As anyone who’s struggled to get weight off and KEEP it off, you realize at some point there are some people who need help beyond merely dieting,” Skilling wrote.

“I’m one of them and reached the point some time ago that I realized an intervention was needed. I’m finally taking the plunge and doing something about it. Hand in hand with the surgery goes an overhaul in how, what and where one eats. You literally enter a new phase of your life when you take this on.”

In 2016 Skilling first went public with his struggle when he shared his “fitness journey” in a special report on WGN. “Finally you get up one day and say: ‘I’m sick of looking like this,'” he told viewers.

Now in his 42nd year at WGN, Skilling is said to be the country’s highest-paid local weatherman, working under a 10-year contract he signed in 2012.

Here is text of Skilling’s message:

Dear friends — Over the next several weeks, beginning Tuesday, I’m stepping away from my weather duties at WGN to undergo gastric bypass surgery. It takes place Wednesday. I’ll be on air Monday then head off to make preparations for the operation.

You’re told to expect to be gone 4 to 6 weeks if all goes as expected — though, in talking to others who have undergone this procedure, some have told me it could end up being only a matter of two or three weeks.

I’ve been working over the past half year to get ready for this. I am actually relieved the moment to get this under way nears.


I’m sure you know that gastric bypass surgery is a weight loss procedure. As anyone who’s struggled to get weight off and KEEP it off, you realize at some point there are some people who need help beyond merely dieting. I’m one of them and reached the point some time ago that I realized an intervention was needed. I’m finally taking the plunge and doing something about it. Hand in hand with the surgery goes an overhaul in how, what and where one eats. You literally enter a new phase of your life when you take this on.


I hate missing work. Suddenly you’re not there — and you leave those who follow your work wondering “Where is he? Where did he go?” I didn’t want anyone wondering for a minute what’s going on without a heads up and some kind of explanation of what’s happening.


I work with amazing colleagues at WGN. My weather office co-workers will be covering for me during my absence. I’m so incredibly fortunate to work with such a talented group of people.


I’ll check back in here on Facebook in coming weeks to let you know how things are going — perhaps even to share with you something I’ve read or even thoughts on a developing weather situation which has caught my eye while on the mend.

Believe me, I’ll no doubt end up crawling up the walls awaiting my return to work — a return which ought to come later in March or early April.


In the meantime, my very best to each of you and my thanks for reading this.