Alex Trebek, the longtime host of “Jeopardy!” who announced in March he had Stage 4 pancreatic cancer, revealed on Tuesday that he was undergoing a new round of chemotherapy to treat the disease.
Mr. Trebek disclosed the additional treatment in an interview with T.J. Holmes on “Good Morning America.”
In the interview, Mr. Trebek, 79, explained that he had recently lost 12 pounds in a week and that his health had suffered after his first bout of chemotherapy ended in August. He said he was at times overwhelmed with fatigue and surges of depression.
“I realize that there is an end in sight for me, just as there is for everyone else,” Mr. Trebek said. “One line that I have used with our staff in recent weeks and months is, that when I do pass on, one thing they will not say at my funeral is, ‘Oh, he was taken from us too soon.’”
When he announced his diagnosis, Mr. Trebek told “Jeopardy!” fans in a YouTube video: “Normally the prognosis for this is not very encouraging. But I’m going to fight this, and I’m going to keep working.”
In the interview on Tuesday, he reiterated his promise to keep working, saying he had no plans to stop hosting the show.
“As long as I can walk out and greet the audience and the contestants and run the game, I’m happy,” he said.
Pancreatic cancer is one of the hardest cancers to treat. Even in a patient with good prospects — which includes the 10 percent to 15 percent whose cancer is diagnosed early and can be surgically removed — there is a high risk of recurrence, according to a New York Times article published in March.
Up to 85 percent of patients who have surgery followed by chemotherapy have a recurrence at some point, usually within two years, the article said. Still, even those who survive five or more years are at risk of another setback.
Mr. Trebek is a native of Ontario who worked for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation before joining the NBC game show “Wizard of Odds” in 1973. He became the host of “Jeopardy!” in 1984.
In 2018, Mr. Trebek suggested he was considering leaving the show in 2020, but he ended up renewing his contract. He is scheduled to host “Jeopardy!” until 2022.
Laura M. Holson is an award-winning feature writer from New York. She joined The Times in 1998 and has written about Hollywood, Wall Street and Silicon Valley. A movie producer once held a butter knife to her neck. @lauramholson
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