Alex Trebek recently shared his devastating cancer diagnosis with fans. In March 2019, the 78-year-old revealed that he has stage 4 pancreatic cancer. The news stunned the millions of Americans who have invited Trebek into their living rooms on a regular basis via episodes of “Jeopardy” since 1984.
The Canadian-born television personality recently sat down with Good Morning America to discuss his diagnosis. Trebek shared the deep sorrow his cancer has caused him.
“My oncologist tells me I’m doing well even though I don’t always feel it,” confesses Trebek. “I’ve had kidney stones, I’ve had ruptured discs, so I’m used to dealing with pain — but what I’m not used to dealing with is the surges that come on suddenly of deep, deep sadness and it brings tears to my eyes.”
Watch Trebek’s interview with GMA below:
Pancreatic cancer has a notoriously low survival rate, a fact Trebek acknowledges with his trademark good humor.
“Now normally, the prognosis for this is not very encouraging, but I’m going to fight this, and I’m going to keep working,” he said. “I plan to beat the low survival-rate statistics for this disease. Truth told, I have to! Because under the terms of my contract, I have to host ‘Jeopardy!’ for three more years!”
According to the American Cancer Society, about 56,770 people are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer each year, and famous celebrities such as Patrick Swayze, Powers Boothe, Alan Rickman, Steve Jobs, Aretha Franklin and Michael Landon all publicly battled pancreatic cancer before tragically passing away.
Risk factors for pancreatic cancer include tobacco use and obesity, but genetics, family history and age can also increase a person’s risk of developing this type of cancer.
Trebek is married to real estate manager Jean Currivan Trebek. The pair have been together for nearly 30 years and have two adult children.
The “Jeopardy” host recently opened up to PEOPLE magazine about his love life, lamenting that he met his wife so late in life.
“I’m pretty satisfied with my life,” says Trebek. “But my wife Jean and I have been together almost 29 years, and I was thinking about President Bush when he died, and all the comments about his life about what a nice guy he is, and how he and his wife had been together 73 years. I thought, oh my gosh … if I’d just met Jean in my 20s we could have had a longer life together.”
Let’s hope they have many more wonderful years together, and that Trebek continues to bravely battle this disease and inspire others to do the same.