In a poignant interview with the New York Times, “Jeopardy” host Alex Trebek revealed that he may be close to giving up his fight against pancreatic cancer, saying, “There comes a time where you have to make a decision as to whether you want to continue with such a low quality of life, or whether you want to just ease yourself into the next level. It doesn’t bother me in the least.”
The wildly popular 79-year-old game show host initially announced that he had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer — one of the most aggressive and deadly forms of cancer — in March of 2019. Earlier this year, he gave a faith-filled and hopeful update to his condition, but it seems that things may have taken a turn for the worse. According to the Times, if his current course of chemotherapy is not successful, he plans to stop all treatment.
“Jeopardy” stopped filming new episodes in March of 2020 at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic; however, the show had been filming five episodes a day, two days a week, per the normal schedule, so the show’s producers had plenty of old episodes to air for a time. Those have apparently run out, so the show’s producers moved a studio into Trebek’s Los Angeles home so that he could tape new introductions to old favorite episodes of the long running show.
And although Trebek described his current condition as one of regular pain — he told his wife after a recent bout that “I feel like I want to die” — he said that filming episodes of the show helps him to feel better. Trebek said, “Oddly enough, when we started taping I suddenly started to regain my strength. It’s the strangest thing. It is some kind of an elixir.”
Trebek says that he will continue to engage in production work on the show as long as he feels that he can do it at a high level. He is concerned that since his illness hit, he has been slurring the pronunciation of some of the clues. “It’s a quality program, and I think I do a good job hosting it, and when I start slipping, I’ll stop hosting.”
Due to his age and his condition, Trebek has been tightly quarantined in his house with his wife, Jean, since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak.