Alex Trebek gives update on cancer treatment ahead of his 80th birthday

The legendary host gave an encouraging update on his treatment for pancreatic cancer and also shared details about an upcoming "Jeopardy!' retrospective.
/ Source: TODAY

Alex Trebek announced the encouraging news that he is feeling good in the present just as "Jeopardy!" is about to give fans an exciting look at its past.

The legendary host of the quiz show shared a video message about his ongoing treatment for stage 4 pancreatic cancer and showed off his new goatee on Thursday, six days ahead of his 80th birthday.

"I'd also like to take this opportunity to give you a quick health update," he said. "I'm doing well, I've been continuing my treatment, and it is paying off, though it does fatigue me a great deal. My numbers are good, I'm feeling great."

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The positive news comes after Trebek spoke about enduring "attacks of great depression" and "moments of great pain" as he crossed the one-year mark from his cancer diagnosis in March. He has spoken openly about the obstacles he has faced in the past year, which have also included losing his hair and struggling to enunciate.

In his latest appearance, he had some fun talking about the new goatee he has grown during the show's hiatus amid the coronavirus pandemic.

It's another new look for Trebek, who shaved off his famous mustache in 2018 after also having grown a beard.

"As many of you know, whenever there's a break in our 'Jeopardy!' tape schedule, I often take that opportunity to grow some facial hair,'' he said. "Clearly I've been doing that while waiting for us to safely return to the studio, which I hope will be very, very soon. Now, in the meantime, I'm here at home recording show openings from some very special 'Jeopardy!' episodes that will be coming up in July."

Alex Trebek, circa 1984.MICHAEL OCHS ARCHIVES / Getty Images

Fans will get a look at that famous mustache when "Jeopardy!" rolls out a special four-week series beginning July 20 that will highlight 20 memorable episodes of the show, which debuted in its current form in 1984. The retrospective will include the first "Jeopardy!" episode, memorable contestants and thrilling tournaments.

"For the first time ever, we are going to open the 'Jeopardy!' vaults and take another look at some of our favorite episodes, including the very first 'Jeopardy!' show I ever hosted, mustache and all," he said.

Trebek is also looking back on his life and career in his new memoir, "The Answer Is… Reflections on My Life," which comes out July 21, a day before he turns 80.

The host was moved to write the memoir by the outpouring of supportive messages from fans since announcing his cancer diagnosis in March 2019.

"I want people to know a little more about the person they have been cheering on for the past year,” Trebek wrote in an excerpt from the book shared by publisher Simon & Schuster in April.

Ahead of his milestone birthday, Trebek also celebrated the birthday of legendary "Jeopardy!" announcer Johnny Gilbert, who turned 96 on Monday.

"You know Johnny, I think at this point in our lives, we should just celebrate the number of years we've worked together," Trebek said in an Instagram video. "So happy '36th birthday' Johnny. I'm already looking forward to 37. Sounds better, doesn't it? Oh yeah. A lot better."

Trebek is now hoping to get back to doing what he does best.

"Once again, I can't wait to return to the studio and start recording shows for the new season in September," he said. "Meanwhile, my wish for all of you, stay safe."