Alex Trebek told fans he wasn’t going to let his cancer diagnosis slow him down, and on Tuesday (March 12), he stayed true to his word. One week after revealing he had been diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer, the 78-year-old was back on the set of Jeopardy!, a show he’s hosted for 35 years.
“We are taping today, and Alex is here and behind his lectern as scheduled,” a spokeswoman for the quiz show told CNN that day.
A Message from Alex Trebek: pic.twitter.com/LbxcIyeTCF
— Jeopardy! (@Jeopardy) 6 March 2019
The beloved Canadian-American host shared his diagnosis with fans in a video on the program’s Twitter account on March 6. “I’m going to fight this,” he said. “And I’m going to keep working, 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.” He went on to joke that he had to beat the cancer “because under the terms of my contract, I have to host Jeopardy! for three more years.”
Fans immediately rallied around the father of two and began posting messages of support to the game show’s social media accounts. “The outpouring of good wishes and support in response to Alex’s recent health news has been humbling and overwhelming,” the show tweeted on Friday. “Please know that your messages are being conveyed to him and are deeply appreciated. From everyone at Jeopardy! – thank you.”
Two months before his cancer diagnosis, the Sudbury, Ontario native spoke candidly to People about his retirement plans.
“Somebody asked me once, ‘Have you given any thought to retiring?’ This was about seven, eight years ago. And I said, ‘Yes I have.’ Well, all of a sudden, Trebek is retiring. No. He has thought about retirement!” He also noted he’d be “lost” without the show.
“You get to a certain age, and if you’ve been doing the same show for 30 years, or the same job, whatever it is, for 30 years, wouldn’t you think about retirement? What am I gonna do?” he said. “I’m enjoying myself and I’m having a good time with what I’m doing now, but if I were to retire, what would I do? I’d be lost. My wife would say I’m getting on her nerves because I’m around all the time. I’m around most of the time anyway now except for two days.”