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Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek announces late-stage cancer diagnosis, vows to fight

According to a video announcement from Trebek, he has been diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer.

Posted: Mar 6, 2019 2:44 PM
Updated: Mar 6, 2019 4:27 PM

By LYNN ELBER AP Television Writer

LOS ANGELES (AP) — "Jeopardy!" host Alex Trebek said he has been diagnosed with advanced pancreatic cancer but intends to fight the disease and keep on working.

Read Trebek's full statement below:

"Hi everyone, I have some news to share with all of you and it’s in keeping with my longtime policy of being open and transparent with our Jeopardy! fan base. 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.

"Now, 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 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. 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."

In a video posted online Wednesday, the 78-year-old said he was announcing his illness directly to "Jeopardy!" fans in keeping with his long-time policy of being "open and transparent."

He's among 50,000 other American who receive such a diagnosis each year, Trebek said. Normally, the "prognosis for this is not very encouraging, but I'm going to fight this, and I'm going to keep working."

Trebek said he plans to beat the disease's low survival rate with the love and support of family and friends and with prayers from viewers.

He lightened the difficult message with humor: He said he must beat the odds because his "Jeopardy!" contract requires he host the quiz show for three more years.

"So help me. Keep the faith and we'll win. We'll get it done," he said, his voice calm and steady.

Trebek, a native of Sudbury, Ontario, Canada, has been host of the syndicated quiz show since 1984. He and his wife, Jean Currivan, have two children.

Ken Jennings, a longtime "Jeopardy!" player who took part in the show's "All-Star Games" that ended Tuesday, posted a tweet in which he compared Trebek to the late TV journalist Walter Cronkite.

"I've said this before but Alex Trebek is in a way the last Cronkite: authoritative, reassuring TV voice you hear every night, almost to the point of ritual," Jennings wrote.

Trebek has gone online before to get out word about his health. In January 2018, he posted a video announcing he'd undergone surgery for blood clots on the brain that followed a fall he'd taken. The show was on hiatus during his recovery.

In 2007, he was hospitalized for about a week after suffering what was described as a minor heart attack.

Trebek, who holds a philosophy degree from the University of Ottawa, was a TV and radio reporter for the Canadian Broadcasting Company before moving to the United States. He became a U.S. citizen in 1998.

He's won five Emmys as best game show host and received a lifetime achievement award from the TV academy in 2011.

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