Alex Trebek announced his stage 4 pancreatic cancer diagnosis on Wednesday in a video filmed on the Jeopardy! set.
Trebek stood in his familiar position on the Jeopardy! stage, where he has hosted for three and a half decades on Wednesday, as he delivered dire news to his fans. As he explained in a brief YouTube video, Trebek has received a cancer diagnosis with a tragically low survival rate, yet the host put on a brave face.
"Hi everyone, I have some news to share with all of you and it’s in keeping with my long-time policy of being open and transparent with our Jeopardy! fan base," he said. "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."
Trebek took pains not to be dramatic of self-pitying in his video. He put his diagnosis in the context of the many others who receive it each year, and while he did not shy away from its statistical danger, he was also unabashedly optimistic.
"Now, just like 50,000 other people in the United States each year, this week I was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer," he said. "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."
Trebek even found the strength to slip in a joke at the end of his announcement, undercutting the heavy news he was bringing to fans, many of whom have been watching him for their entire lives.
"Truth told, I have to! Because under the terms of my contract, I have to host Jeopardy! for three more years!" he said. "So help me. Keep the faith and we’ll win. We’ll get it done. Thank you."
Trebek will continue hosting Jeopardy!, which is now in its 35th season, until further notice. The host has always avoided long breaks from work, even on the two occasions when he suffered heart attacks, or his other medical emergencies over the years.