Long-term Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek has been diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer, the star has revealed.
The 78-year-old announced the shock news in a short YouTube video posted to the show’s official account on Wednesday.
“Hi everyone, I have some news to share with all of you. And it’s in keeping with my longtime policy of being open and transparent with our Jeopardy fanbase. I also wanted to prevent you from reading or hearing some overblown or inaccurate reports regarding my health,” he began.
“So therefore, I wanted to be the one to pass along this information. Now, just like 50,000 other people in the United States each year, this week I was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer.”
Trebek, who has now hosted Jeopardy! since 1984, vowed to “fight” the disease and “beat the low survival rate statistics”.
“Now normally the prognosis for this is not very encouraging, but I’m going to fight this and I’m going to keep working,” he added. “And with the love and support of my family and friends and with the help of your prayers also, I plan to beat the low survival rate statistics for this disease.
“Truth told, I have to! Because under the terms of my contract, I have to host ‘Jeopardy!‘ for three more years! So help me. Keep the faith and we’ll win. We’ll get it done,” he concluded.
According to the Garvan Institute, the five-year survival rate after diagnosis stands at just 7 per cent. Pancreatic cancer occurs when malignant cells develop in part of the pancreas. Symptoms include pain in the upper abdomen, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting, weight loss and changed bowel motions.
After the news surfaced, fans and even former Jeopardy! champions have expressed support for Trebek.
“Alex Trebek is hands down the person I’ve seen on my TV the most over the years and @Jeopardy is one of my favourite shows ever. Pulling for you Alex,” one fan wrote.
Another added: “Now that’s the face of a warrior. Such class. Such strength. You have my support Trebek.”
And a third wrote: “My grandpa had pancreatic cancer as well. He never let it tell him what he could and couldn’t do. I know you can get through this Alex. You will be in my prayers.”
Meanwhile, Jeopardy! champion Ken Jennings tweeted: “Oh my God. If anyone can beat this, you can. Sending heartfelt good thoughts and best wishes for a speedy and full recovery. We love you, Uncle Alex!”
I’ve said this before but Alex Trebek is in a way the last Cronkite: authoritative, reassuring TV voice you hear every night, almost to the point of ritual.
— Ken Jennings (@KenJennings) March 6, 2019