On Wednesday, Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek announced he was diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer. However, in true Trebek fashion, he kept the tone of his announcement as light as he could by joking about his Jeopardy! contract, which isn’t up for another three years. It’s still tough to tell how Trebek’s cancer fight will affect his role as Jeopardy! host, so let’s take a look at what we know.
In a video statement, Trebek addressed his viewers, gently and calmly saying, “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! 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 went on to explain that he was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer, “just like 50,000 other people in the United States each year” noting that “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.”
To end his statement, Trebek lightly joked, “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.”
If Trebek does take a break from his Jeopardy! hosting duties, it would make sense. It also wouldn’t be the first time he was forced to go on medical leave for his health. After a fall in October 2017 in which he hit his head, Trebek took a break from the show over the holidays to recover, then went on medical leave in January 2018 after he had surgery to remove blood clots in his brain. According to People, Trebek has also weathered several other health scares, including two heart attacks, a torn Achilles tendon and a full knee replacement. Following the latter, he hosted episodes of Jeopardy! while sitting, rather than take time off of work. If his past health history tell us anything in relation to his work ethic, we have a feeling Trebek won’t leave Jeopardy! unless he absolutely must. That’s good news for us, because we’ll be able to continue to watch him and support him as he fights pancreatic cancer.
We hope his cancer treatments are successful and that he’s able to keep doing what he seems to love for at least the duration of his contract.