On Wednesday, March 6, longtime Jeopardy! host and national treasure Alex Trebek shared some devastating news.
In a video message shared on social media, Trebek revealed he was recently diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. The decision to make his diagnosis public is part of an effort to stay transparent with loyal Jeopardy! viewers, and because he doesn't want news outlets mishandling the news.
"Hi everyone, I have some news to share with all of you," Trebek began. "It’s in keeping with my policy of being open and transparent with our Jeopardy! fanbase. I also wanted to prevent you from reading or hearing some overblown or inaccurate reports regarding my health. So therefore, I wanted to be the one to pass along this information."
He proceeded to announce he's one of the 50,000 people in the US to get diagnosed with the disease each year.
"Just like 50,000 other people in the United States each year, this week I was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. Now, normally the prognosis for this is not very encouraging, but I’m gonna fight this," he said. "I’m gonna 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."
Despite the grim news, Trebek remained in high spirits and even managed a joke. He quipped that he has no choice but to fight it since he's tethered to his hosting contract for three more years.
"Truth be told, I have to," he said. "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."
Trebek, 78, has hosted the popular game show since 1984. Rumors of his departure swirled in 2018, but were debunked when he renewed his contract through 2021. In an interview with Vulture last year, the Canadian-American star revealed he already knows how he's going to handle his very last show.
"If I do, it’s that I will tell the director, 'Time the show so that I have 30 seconds at the end,'" he said. "So all I want on my last show is 30 seconds, and I’ll do what Johnny Carson did: 'Hey, folks, thank you. Been a good run and all good things must come to an end.' Then I’ll move on."
After the announcement, Trebek received an outpouring of love from fans and friends in the industry.
Wheel of Fortune's Pat Sajak took to Twitter to express his support.
Fan favorite Jeopardy! contestants Ken Jennings and All-Star Games winner Brad Rutter also offered words of encouragement.
If we know anything about Trebek, it's that he's a fighter. In 2017, he took a hiatus from the show to get surgery for a subdural hematoma.
We're all rooting for you, Mr. Trebek!