After months of treatment for stage 4 pancreatic cancer, Alex Trebek is officially back to work. The longtime game show host returned to the stage Monday night for Jeopardy!'s Season 36 premiere, during which he thanked fans and viewers for their continued support. Trebek had announced his cancer diagnosis in March and said in May he was already "near remission."
"Thank you, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to our show," the 79-year-old began the episode, which saw returning champion Jason Zuffranieri extend his six-game streak, bringing his total winnings to $166,500.
"I truly hope you folks have enjoyed revisiting some of our special tournaments throughout this past summer," Trebek continued. "But today, Jeopardy! begins its 36th season on the air and I'm happy to report, I'm still here."
The host's return to the game show came just weeks after he announced in an Aug. 29 video promoting the upcoming season that he had finished chemotherapy.
Alex is back in action! Join him on September 9 for the premiere of Season 36. pic.twitter.com/Vdv9t9vxDE— Jeopardy! (@Jeopardy) August 29, 2019
"I've gone through a lot of chemotherapy and thankfully, that is now over," he said at the time. "I'm on the mend, and that's all I can hope for right now."
At the time, he also confirmed that he would be returning for Season 36 despite his latest health crisis, stating that "it's another day at the office for me, and an exciting day because so many great things have been happening."
Trebek has been the host of Jeopardy! for 35 years, taking over the gig from former host Art Fleming in 1984. Just months after it was revealed in November of 2018 that he had renewed his contract for an additional three years, meaning that he had signed on to host through 2022, Trebek make the heartbreaking announcement in March that he had been diagnosed with advanced stage 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," he said. "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."0comments
In May, the 79-year-old revealed that he was in "near remission" and that his tumors "shrunk by more than 50 percent."
"It's kind of mind-boggling," Trebek said. "The doctors said they hadn't seen this kind of positive result in their memory…some of the tumors have already shrunk by more than 50 percent."