In a heartbreaking video message, host of Jeopardy! Alex Trebek reveals that he's been diagnosed with cancer. Widely considered the greatest game show of all time, the emblem of television trivia originally debuted as a daytime show on NBC in 1964. It was the brainchild of Merv Griffin, who also created Wheel of Fortune, and ran on and off until 1979. Trebek has hosted the show since it was revived in 1984 by Sony Pictures Television.
The Canadian-American personality was born in 1940 in Sudbury, Ontario. He majored in philosophy at the University of Ottawa, and later become a news presenter at the CBC. In the decade prior to taking the reigns at Jeopardy! he hosted a number of game shows including The Wizard of Odds, Double Dare, The $128,000 Question, and Battlestars. Trebek has won five Emmy Awards for Outstanding Game Show Host, and appeared as himself in a slew of popular TV shows and movies, including The Simpsons, How I Met Your Mother, Beverly Hills, 90210, and Charlie's Angels. In October 2018, he renewed his contact with Jeopardy! for another three years.
In an effort to prevent misinformation from being spread, Trebek posted a video discussing the startling news that he has stage 4 pancreatic cancer to the Jeopardy! YouTube channel. The host appeared to speak to the fans directly, referencing a policy of transparency regarding how he'll be handling the diagnosis moving forward. Despite the somber nature of the announcement, Trebek's message was one of optimism, in which he humorously cites that he must beat the odds since his contract goes until 2022. See the full video below:
"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! fan base. I also wanted to prevent you from reading or hearing some overblown or inaccurate reports regarding my health. 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. Now normally, the prognosis for this is not very encouraging, but I’m going to fight this, 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. 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. Thank you."
The video message has also been posted to the official Jeopardy! Twitter ,where it's already been viewed over 2 million times, and received over 100,000 likes as well as additional thousands of comments and re-tweets. Fans have come out to share their grief and support for the host, with one replying: "What is, something to make my heart hurt for $2000 please."
It's comforting to see the size of the network surrounding Trebek in this difficult time. While his diagnosis is both heartbreaking and worrying, he's clearly made up his mind to proactively approach it with a strong will and a positive attitude. As in the case of stories of other cancer survivors in the public eye like Robert De Niro, Christina Applegate, and Shannen Doherty, he's also bringing awareness to his condition, which will hopefully inspire more action to find a cure for the disease. With his resolve, as well as the love, hopes and prayers he's already started to receive, confidence that he'll beat the odds will remain strong.