Alex Trebek admitted on Monday that his time as host of Jeopardy! may soon be coming to an end due to his battle with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer, People magazine reports. The host says that, once his skills have diminished to the point that he can’t keep up with the demands of the show, he’ll call it quits. And they’re starting to diminish.
Trebek, 79, has been a mainstay on afternoon syndicated television for the better part of four decades now, but age and a taxing battle with a virulent form of cancer may soon be bringing his tenure, and indeed his life, to an end.
In March, Trebek announced that he is battling Stage 4 pancreatic cancer, a cancer which has a one-year survival rate of 20 percent, and a five-year survival rate of 7 percent, according to Hirshberg Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research. After an initial round of chemotherapy treatments, Trebek was on the mend and returned to his old job. However, in September, as reported at the time by The Inquisitr, Trebek’s cancer took a turn, and he was brought in for another round of chemo treatments.
Those treatments have left him with painful mouth sores that have made it difficult for him to enunciate, and enunciation is, of course, a key component of Trebek’s job. What’s more, the disease and treatment have left him weak, making it difficult for him to stand for long periods of time. He says he summons up every ounce of his strength for Jeopardy! tapings.
“There are weaknesses I feel in my body but I can always suck it up when it comes to tape the show,” he says.
’Jeopardy!’ host Alex Trebek, who is currently battling stage 4 pancreatic cancer, says he’s “not afraid of dying. ”— The Talk (@TheTalkCBS) October 7, 2019
????Are you afraid of death? pic.twitter.com/5boToNNISu
Unfortunately, that means that his time on Jeopardy! may be over sooner rather than later.
“I will keep doing it as long as my skills do not diminish, and they have started to diminish… There will come a point when [fans and producers] will no longer be able to say, ‘It’s okay,'” he said.
Trebek also noted that sharing the news of his cancer diagnosis with his fans might not have been the best idea. As ET Online notes, Alex said that he’s been hearing from other people who have dealt with the devastating disease.
“I don’t know if I’m strong enough or intelligent enough to help alleviate some of that despair,” he says.
As for the fact that cancer may yet claim not just his career, but his life, Trebek brings a sense of humor to the conversation. He jokes that one thing that won’t be said at his eulogy is that he was “taken from us too soon.” Further, he says that he’s accomplished almost everything he’s wanted to accomplish in his life, with the exception of being a grandpa. He then joked, “Hint! Hint!,” clearly a directive to his two adult children to get on the ball.