Alex Trebek has revealed that he has stage 4 pancreatic cancer.
The longtime “Jeopardy!” host, 78, made the announcement in a video shared by the game show.
“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,” he began.
“So therefore, I wanted to be the one to pass along this information,” he continued. “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.”
Trebek then tried to keep things light. “Truth told, I have to,” he said. “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 American Cancer Society estimates that more than 56,000 people will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2019, and that more than 45,000 will die of the disease.
Pancreatic cancer has the highest mortality rate of the major cancers, with 91 percent of patients dying within five years of a diagnosis. It is the third-leading cause of cancer-related deaths.
After Trebek made his announcement, fellow game show host Pat Sajak offered words of encouragement.
“Our hearts go out to him and his family. But there is no one I know who is stronger and more determined, and I would never bet against him. We, and the entire country, are pulling for you, Alex,” the “Wheel of Fortune” host wrote.
Former “Jeopardy!” champ Ken Jennings also reacted to the news on Twitter.
Trebek has hosted the show since 1984, missing only a single episode when he swapped places with Sajak in 1997. Last October, he renewed his contract to continue hosting “Jeopardy!” through 2022.