Well wishes continue to pour in on social media following Jeopardy host Alex Trebek’s revelation Wednesday that he has Stage 4 pancreatic cancer.
In a video posted to Jeopardy’s YouTube channel, Trebek, 78, revealed the diagnosis came just this week. The Sudbury, ON native says while the prognosis is normally not encouraging, “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,” Trebek joked.
Pancreatic cancer is often diagnosed at a late stage because it tends not to show early symptoms. Stage 4 means the cancer has spread to other organs, typically the liver or lungs.
Trebek has helmed Jeopardy since 1984 and hosted more than 7,000 episodes of the enduring quiz show, holding the Guinness World Record for “the most gameshow episodes hosted by the same presenter (same program).” He’s the winner of five Daytime Emmy Awards and received a Lifetime Achievement Emmy in 2011. He was named an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2017.
Even before his graduation from the University of Ottawa, where he finished a philosophy degree in 1961, Trebek was interested in broadcast news and started working nights at the CBC. He would eventually read the national news and cover special events for both radio and TV, including curling. His first turn as a host was on the show Music Hop in 1963, essentially the Canadian version of American Bandstand. He went on to host high school quiz show Reach for the Top, a weekly skating program, and Canadian game show Strategy.
In 1973, he moved to the U.S, working for NBC as host of The Wizard of Odds, High Rollers, CBS game show Double Dare, and syndicated series The $128,000 Question, which taped in Toronto, among other shows. He became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1998.
Trebek’s donations to his alma mater, the University of Ottawa, have totalled more than $7.5 million, including a $5 million donation in 2016 that funded the Alex Trebek Forum for Dialogue “to expose students to a wide range of diverse views, through speeches, public panels, events and lectures by University of Ottawa researchers, senior government officials and guests speakers from around the world.” Since 2017, Trebek has also funded the Alex Trebek Leadership Award, an annual $10,000 scholarship to a summa cum laude graduate who has also demonstrated community leadership. The university’s Alumni Hall bears his name.
Trebek’s revelation garnered thousands of messages of support for the host on social media that included Wheel of Fortune host Pat Sajak, Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie, and comedian Mark Critch of This Hour Has 22 Minutes, among many others.
I’ll take, “He is a Canadian treasure who beat cancer and went on to stump contestants as host of a popular game show”
Wishing Alex Trebek strength as he takes on his toughest contestant yet. https://t.co/eZgKOo070k
— Bonnie Crombie 🇨🇦 (@BonnieCrombie) March 7, 2019
BREAKING: What courage… to not only get through this announcement without cracking, but delivering an understated yet very funny joke at the end of it. If anyone can do it, you can Alex. #Trebek #Jeopardy https://t.co/bk7yiAkxxN
— Chris Gailus (@chrisgailus) March 6, 2019
The cruel sadistic irony of cancer.
Alex Trebek made #Jeopardy a part of daily life.
Now his life is in jeopardy.
I’ll pick the next category:
Miraculous recoveries for 1000, Alex. 🤜🏼🤛🏼
— Tom Harrington (@cbctom) March 7, 2019
Best wishes and prayers to Alex Trebek in his fight against pancreatic cancer. I look forward to the day when the #Jeopardy clue is “This long time TV personality recently beat pancreatic cancer.” Looking forward to chatting with you, again, #Alextrebek https://t.co/rxZWwDeCXY
— Mark Critch (@markcritch) March 6, 2019
The Sajak family is deeply saddened to hear of Alex Trebek’s struggle with cancer. Our hearts go out to him and his family. But there is no one I know who is stronger and more determined, and I would never bet against him. We, and the entire country, are pulling for you, Alex.
— Pat Sajak (@patsajak) March 6, 2019
The clue: “He has the strength and determination to beat his cancer diagnosis.” The response: “Who is Alex Trebek?” My family and I are sending love and tons of healing prayers to you Alex. pic.twitter.com/VTA435hHel
— Vanna White (@TheVannaWhite) March 7, 2019
Sorry to hear you’re going through this Alex. As a two time cancer survivor I want you to know that I’m rootin’ for you. I watch Jeopardy twice a day & I look forward to seeing you on there for many years to come. Against all odds you’re the big door prize. Your friend John Prine https://t.co/0I6tAywSPL
— John Prine (@JohnPrineMusic) March 7, 2019
— Brad Garrett (@RealBradGarrett) March 7, 2019
If the wonderful Alex Trebek is on your mind tonight, this is worth watching. I was honored to make a quick appearance this wonderful new doc about game shows – hosted & produced by Alex. He interviews the other famous game show hosts. It’s terrific: https://t.co/H82Q6lp3gf
— Terry O’Reilly (@terryoinfluence) March 7, 2019
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