Alex Trebek, Longtime ‘Jeopardy!’ Host, Says He Has Pancreatic Cancer
Alex Trebek, the longtime host of the classic trivia television show “Jeopardy!”, announced in a video on Wednesday that he has Stage IV pancreatic cancer.
“Normally the prognosis for this is not very encouraging,” Mr. Trebek said. “But I’m going to fight this, and I’m going to keep working.”
Mr. Trebek, 78, has become a household name during his tenure at “Jeopardy!”, in which three knowledgeable contestants compete to see who can come up with the right answers — or rather, the right questions — the fastest.
Mr. Trebek said that he learned about the diagnosis this week.
The average lifetime risk for pancreatic cancer is about one in 63 for men, and one in 65 for women, according to the American Cancer Society. The disease is known for its low survival rates. It has been estimated that only about 9 percent of patients who are found to have the disease survive the next five years.
Mr. Trebek, a native of Ontario with a philosophy degree, worked for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation before he made his American television debut as a game show host in 1973. He became host of “Jeopardy!” in 1984, according the show’s website, and has hosted more than 7,000 episodes.
He suffered two minor heart attacks, in 2007 and 2012.
In his video announcement, Mr. Trebek used the same calm cadence he typically employs to host the nightly quiz show, and he added a joke to soften the blow.
“I plan to beat the low survival rate statistics for this disease,” he said. “Truth told, I have to. Because under the terms of my contract, I have to host Jeopardy for three more years.”
Mr. Trebek hinted last year that he was considering leaving the show in 2020, but in October he renewed his contract and is scheduled to host the quiz show through 2022.
Julia Jacobs contributed reporting.
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