Jeopardy! continues to air new episodes featuring the late host Alex Trebek, who continued filming new shows ten days before his death. Thursday's episode began with a message that felt even more heartbreaking, as he reminded viewers that it was World Pancreatic Cancer Day. Trebek was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in March 2019. He died on Nov. 8 at 80.
"Today is World Pancreatic Cancer Day," Trebek told viewers, with a purple tie and purple ribbon attached to his suit lapel. "If you or anyone you know has developed some of the symptoms I have talked about in the past, then by all means, get to a doctor. Get yourself tested. I want you to be safe. This is a terrible, terrible disease."
Throughout his nearly two-year battle with pancreatic cancer, Trebek used his platform as the beloved game show host to raise awareness of the disease and the symptoms. In September 2019, he told Good Morning America he lost 12 pounds in one week and lost strength while receiving chemotherapy treatments. "Occasionally it will cause excruciating pain in my lower back. Other times it's fatigue, other times it's nausea. It varies. Cancer is mysterious in more ways than one," Trebek said at the time.
In August 2020, Trebek's widow, Jean Trebek, wrote about the first symptoms she noticed before his diagnosis in an essay for Guideposts. Jean said their family noticed Trebek's complexion looked off during a trip to Israel in December 2018. At first, they thought it was caused by the different foods he ate, but a doctor later diagnosed him with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. "All the terrible pain and loss I’d felt at Chris’s death came back," Jean wrote, referring to her late brother Chris' death from a car accident. "Only my faith in God’s ultimate goodness and love had gotten me through that period of my life. Then I met Alex, as if the Lord had led me through my grief to the man I would love forever. I couldn’t imagine my life without him."
Trebek continued filming new Jeopardy! episodes until Oct. 29, just 10 days before his death. His final episode will air on Dec. 25, Christmas Day, Sony Pictures Entertinment said. Trebek died peacefully with his family by his side. He is survived by Jean, and children Matthew, Emily and Nicky. "This is an enormous loss for the Jeopardy! staff, crew and all of Alex’s millions of fans," Jeopardy! executive producer Mike Richards said in a statement. "He was a legend of the industry that we were all lucky to watch night after night for 37 years."