'Jeopardy!' Host Alex Trebek Opens up About Battles With Depression Amid Cancer Struggle
Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek is currently battling pancreatic cancer, having first revealed his diagnosis in March. Since then, he's received an outpouring of support from friends and fans, telling Michael Strahan in a new ABC News special that the well-wishes made him emotional, specifically citing Jeopardy! contestant Dhruv Gaur's heartfelt gesture during a November episode of the show.
👏👏👏— Jeopardy! (@Jeopardy) November 12, 2019
Couldn't have said it better ourselves, Dhruv! #WeLoveYouAlex pic.twitter.com/JPpXjF2ifZ
Gaur was in third place during the Final Jeopardy round and elected not to answer the question altogether, instead using his answer to write, "What is… We [love] you, Alex!"
"I read it first and then I got choked up because it suddenly registered on me: ''Oh, dear. OK. Yeah,'" Trebek recalled of the message.
"I don't mind getting choked up," he added. "My oncologist told me one of the symptoms, if you will, of pancreatic cancer is that you get these moments of depression, sadness."
Trebek is still hosting Jeopardy! and has said that he will continue to do so until his skills diminish, though he admitted to Strahan that that has already begun to happen and that he's prepared for the day he says goodbye to the game show.
"It'll be a significant moment for me," he said. "But I've kind of, in my mind, rehearsed it already, and what I would do on that day is tell the director, 'Time the show down to leave me 30 seconds at the end. That's all I want.' And I will say my goodbyes and I will tell people, 'Don't ask me who's going to replace me because I have no say whatsoever. But I'm sure that if you give them the same love and attention and respect that you have shown me...then they will be a success and the show will continue being a success. And until we meet again, God bless you and goodbye.'"
The 79-year-old shared that he received his diagnosis after severe stomach pain prompted him to see a doctor. One of the host's biggest support systems has been his wife of 29 years, Jean, who said it's most difficult to see her husband "in pain and I can't help him."
"It's always tough for caretakers because she has to deal with her worrying about my well-being and also dealing with… I'm not always the most pleasant person to be around when I'm experiencing severe pain or depression, and she has to tread lightly around me," Trebek said.
"Throughout my life, I've always wondered about how courageous a human being I was," he added, addressing his diagnosis. "I just look at it as it's a part of life. Does that mean I'm courageous because I'm dealing with it? No. I could be scared to death and I'd still have to deal with it."
Photo Credit: Getty / Emma McIntyre