’I’m nearing the end of my life’: Alex Trebek says he’s not afraid to die as cancer grows

The longtime Jeopardy! host announced a pancreatic cancer diagnosis in March, then remission in May, but now says tumors are worse than ever.
Trebek made clear he plans to continue working as a host. [Associated Press]
Trebek made clear he plans to continue working as a host. [Associated Press]
Published Oct. 11, 2019|Updated Oct. 11, 2019

Alex Trebek, the Canadian icon who’s hosted the game show, “Jeopardy!” for more than 30 years, wants the world to know he’s not afraid to die.

Trebek sat down last week with Canadian news anchor Lisa La Flamme to discuss his recent cancer diagnoses, its remission and return. He’s had a rough 2019. In March he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, then in May said it was in remission after undergoing a round of chemotherapy and he was back in good health.

However, Trebek told LaFlamme that the follow-up immunotherapy did “diddly squat” and the cancer came back 50-percent higher than his original diagnosis. He is set to resume chemo treatments.

“I’ve lived a full life, a good life, and I’m nearing the end of that life. I know that,” Trebek said. “I’m not gonna delude myself. If it happens, it happens. Why should I be afraid of that?”

Trebek, 79, has hosted the award-winning game show, “Jeopardy!” since 1984, when it was revived in its fourth iteration. In that time the show, and its host, became pop-culture mainstays. Trebek’s current contract runs through 2022, but the host said he might have to step away sooner.

Trebek now wears a wig to cover hair he’s lost in chemo. After treatment his eyesight gets messed up and his joints ache. Small sores in his mouth give him trouble enunciating some words.

"There are weaknesses I feel in my body, but I can always suck it up when it comes to tape the show,” he said. He added that "there will come a point when they (fans and producers) will no longer be able to say, ‘It’s okay.’”

Though he said he is ready if it’s his time, Trebek said that doesn’t mean he’s giving up. Trebek said he’ll keep fighting through to the end.

“We’re back on the chemo and we’ll see if the numbers go down.They can’t keep doing it forever, of course," he said. "They’ll have to find a new protocol or whatever to administer. We’ll play it by ear and keep chugging along until we either win or lose.”

“Jeopardy!” premiered for its 36th season with Trebek in September and aired its 8,000th episode last week.

Watch Trebek’s full CTV interview below.