Sad news today from one of America’s most beloved television personalities.
Back in March, Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek revealed that he had been diagnosed wirth stage 4 pancreatic cancer.
In a heartfelt message to fans, Trebek stated at the time that he had no intention of stepping away from the career that made him internationally famous.
“Now, just like 50,000 other people in the United States each year, this week I was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer,” Trebek said at the time.
“Now normally, the prognosis for this is not very encouraging, but I’m going to fight this, and I’m going to keep working.”
“And with the love and support of my family and friends and with the help of your prayers also, I plan to beat the low survival rate statistics for this disease.
Trebek concluded his message with his trademark wry humor, saying:
“Truth told, I have to! Because under the terms of my contract, I have to host Jeopardy! for three more years!
“So help me. Keep the faith and we’ll win. We’ll get it done. Thank you.”
For a time, it seemed that Trebek’s optimism had had the desired effect.
In May, Trebek updated fans again, this time with cheerful news:
The 79-year-old had responded well to treatment and was cleared to return to work.
“The doctors said they hadn’t seen this kind of positive result in their memory… some of the tumors have already shrunk by more than 50 percent,” Trebek said.
Unfortunately, as so many who have battled cancer know, the disease has a sinister way of reappearing just as hope begins to take hold.
Last month, Trebek revealed that he’d undergoing chemotherapy.
Now, in a new interview with Canada’s CTV television network, Trebek has indicated that his ongoing treatment may force him to step away from his career of 36 years:
“I talk to the producers about this all the time now,” Trebek told the network.
“I say, ‘Look, I’m slurring my words. My tongue doesn’t work as much, as well as it used to. The chemo has caused sores inside my mouth. It makes it difficult for me to speak and enunciate properly,’” he explained.
“I’m sure there are observant members of the television audience that notice also, but they’re forgiving,” he added.
“But there will come a point when they will no longer be able to say, ‘It’s OK.’”
“We’ll play it by ear and keep chugging along until we either win or lose.”
Trebek added that he is “not afraid of dying,” noting:
“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 of that?”
While no one would question that Trebek has lived a life of adventure, achievement, and profound human connection, we hope he has many years ahead of him as television’s most erudite emcee.