Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek faces life-threatening cancer

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Written by: Isabelle Hendrich, staff writer

On March 6, 2019, Alex Trebek, host of trivia game show Jeopardy!, announced that he was diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer. Despite his grim prognosis, Trebek has decided to stay positive for this new year.

Trebek originally released this information during an episode of Jeopardy! to “get ahead of the tabloids,” though he had no idea the impact his statement would have on viewers. Since then, many fans have expressed their love and admiration for Trebek.

Trebek finished his first round of chemotherapy in May of 2019, saying that his tumors had nearly shrunk to half their previous size. Although he later stated he was still doing well, the cancer persisted.

Trebek began his second round of chemotherapy in August of 2019. In December, Trebek revealed that he was looking into experimental treatments and chemotherapies.

Trebek is contracted to host Jeopardy! until 2022, joking in an episode that he is obligated to fulfill his time despite his recent health complications. Trebek also stated that he would remain on the gameshow “as long as my skills do not diminish.”

In an interview with CTV News, Trebek said, “I am not afraid of dying. I’ve lived a good life, a full life, and I’m nearing the end of that life . . . if it happens, why should I be afraid of that?”

Trebek began his 35-year career on Jeopardy! in 1984. He has previously hosted and announced several other TV shows and radio programs, including High Rollers and Reach for the Top.  

Trebek’s first hosting job was in 1963 for a Canadian music program called Music Hop.

Alex Trebek and James Holzhauer, the third-highest-earning Jeopardy! contestant

Born in Sudbury, Ontario, on July 22, 1940, Trebek is the son of a Ukraine chef. His mother is French-Canadian. He is both fluent in French and English and holds dual Canadian and American citizenship.

In 1973, Trebek moved to the United States from Ontario, Canada to host The Wizard of Odds that aired on NBC. While hosting Jeopardy!, Trebek also worked on a few other shows, including Classic Concentration and Pillsbury Bake-Off, a cooking contest first run by the Pillsbury Company.

Although Trebek loves what he does and has committed to record episodes until his contract expires, he has also decided to live life to its fullest. Besides spending time with his wife, he enjoys working on construction projects on their house, including building a three-car garage. 

In an interview with Michael Strahan by ET Canada at the start of January, Trebek revealed that he had already been planning what to say in his final episode. Trebek affirmed, “I will say my goodbyes and I will tell people: ‘Don’t ask me who’s going to replace me . . . 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.”

 Isabelle Hendrich is a Communication  major and Missions minor at Bryan College. She is on the Cross-Country team. Besides running, Isabelle also likes to read and do crafts. She is also a triplet whose siblings, Benjamin and Savannah, are also attending Bryan College.