In March, Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek announced that he was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. He finished his first round of chemotherapy in August, according to TV Insider, and continues to undergo treatment today.
In an October interview with CTV’s Chief Anchor Lisa Laflamme, Trebek said, “I’m not afraid of dying. I’ve lived a good life, a full life, and I’m nearing the end of that life … if it happens, why should I be afraid that?”
He added, “One thing they’re not going to say at my funeral, as a part of a eulogy, is ‘He was taken from us too soon.’”
He Admits It Is Difficult Staying Optimistic
After Trebek, who started hosting Jeopardy! in 1984, announced he had pancreatic cancer, he underwent a round of chemotherapy and learned he was in remission. Unfortunately, towards the end of summer, he found out he would have to undergo another round of chemo. Speaking to LaFlamme, Trebek said, “Yup, (I) went all the way down to numbers that correspond with a normal human being without cancer,” he said. “Then all of a sudden, it blew up and went 50 percent higher than when it was first diagnosed. Go figure.”
Trebek went on to say that many fans and members of the public are seeking his counseling and reassurance. He says it is difficult “trying to be as optimistic as you can when the other person feels none of that … they feel only despair. And I don’t know if I was strong enough or intelligent enough to help alleviate that despair.”
Still, Trebek acknowledges that the outpouring of support from fans has helped him immensely. “I have learned something in the past year and it’s this: We don’t know when we’re going to die. Because of the cancer diagnosis, it’s no longer an open-ended life, it’s a closed-ended life because of the terrible…survival rates of pancreatic cancer. Because of that, and something else that is operating here, people all over America and abroad have decided they want to let me know now, while I’m alive, about the impact that I’ve been having on their existence.”
He admits that while he can feel weak, especially after undergoing chemo, he will suck it up when it comes time to taping the show.
He Says He Has Prepared for His Final Goodbye on ‘Jeopardy!’
Trebek isn’t done with Jeopardy! just yet. In fact, he’ll be hosting the upcoming ABC News special: What Is Jeopardy? Alex Trebek and America’s Most Popular Quiz Show which will air on Thursday, January 2, at 8pm ET/PT.
Newsweek quotes him as saying of his final goodbye on the show, “It’ll be a significant moment for me… But I’ve kind of, in my mind, rehearsed it already, and what I would do on that day is tell the director, ‘Time the show down to leave me 30 seconds at the end. That’s all I want,'” Trebek said. “And I will say my goodbyes and I will tell people, ‘Don’t ask me who’s going to replace me because I have no say whatsoever. But I’m sure that if you give them the same love and attention and respect that you have shown me, then they will be a success and the show will continue being a success. And until we meet again, God bless you and goodbye.'”
He adds that he is open to experimenting with a different type of chemotherapy. “I don’t mind experimenting. I’ve got nothing to lose, so let’s go for it.”
Trebek continues to host Jeopardy, and is slated to host Jeopardy! The Greatest of All Time tournament, which will start in 2020.