Alex Trebek Says He's "Nearing the End" of His Life Amid Cancer Complications

Photo credit: Emma McIntyre
Photo credit: Emma McIntyre

From Good Housekeeping

  • In September, Jeopardy host Alex Trebek announced that despite previously being in near remission from his pancreatic cancer, he had to undergo chemotherapy again.

  • He told CTV News on Friday that he may need to leave Jeopardy before his contract ends because of health complications.

  • "I will keep doing it as long as my skills do not diminish, and they have started to diminish," Trebek said.

Jeopardy host and general TV icon Alex Trebek revealed in March that he had been diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. Since then, Trebek, who has been at the center of the game show since 1984, has been undergoing treatments to "beat the low survival rate statistics," he said. While he's been open about his battle, and his determination to fight the disease, he shared with CTV News on October 4 that he may have to leave Jeopardy due to health complications.

Trebek, 79, explained that he's developed mouth sores from his chemotherapy that make it difficult for him to articulate.

“I’m sure there are observant members of the television audience that notice also, but they’re forgiving,” Trebek said. “But there will come a point when they will no longer be able to say, ‘It’s okay.'"

"I will keep doing it as long as my skills do not diminish, and they have started to diminish," Trebek, whose contract runs until 2020, said.

Though he announced that he went into near remission in May, this September he had to undergo another round of treatment after his "numbers went sky high." He told Good Morning America, "I was doing so well. And my numbers went down to the equivalent of a normal human being who does not have pancreatic cancer. So we were all very optimistic."

Photo credit: Santiago Felipe - Getty Images
Photo credit: Santiago Felipe - Getty Images

“Cancer is mysterious in more ways than one,” he said.

“When it happened early on I was down on myself,” Trebek added. “I didn’t realize how fallible each of us is in his or her own way… I talk to the audience sometimes and I get teary-eyed for no reason. I don’t even bother to explain it anymore, I just experience it. I know it's a part of who I am and I just keep going.”

Despite the outpouring of support from fans, Trebek told CTV News, "A lot of people are coming to me and looking for help, reassurance, and that's tough. I don't know if I'm strong enough or intelligent enough to help alleviate some of that despair, so it's tough on me."

Yet, Trebek has tried to remain positive. "The thought of the pancreatic cancer does not frighten me. I'm 79 years old. So, hey, I've lived a good life, a full life, and I'm nearing the end of that life. I know that." But even so, he does want to continue to work for as long as he's able. In September he shared, "As long as I can walk out and greet the audience and the contestants and run the game I'm happy."

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