Alex Trebek Says His Health Prognosis Has Worsened – ‘I Feel Like I Want to Die’

Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek has spoken openly in a conversation with The New York Times, telling the outlet in July 2020 that the prognosis for the advanced pancreatic cancer with which he was diagnosed in 2019 has worsened.

The long-time quiz show host admitted that he plans to end his present treatment if it does not show promise.

Alex Trebek
Alex Trebek | Ethan Miller/Getty Images

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Alex Trebek’s battle with pancreatic cancer

In March 2019, Trebek announced to the quiz show’s fans by way of video the sad news that he had been diagnosed with late-stage pancreatic cancer. As many are aware, a diagnosis at that point in the disease is not reassuring, but the 79-year-old kept his message as upbeat as possible, promising to fight it with all he had.

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“I wanted to be the one to pass along this information,” Trebek said at the time. “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.”

“I plan to beat the low survival-rate statistics for this disease,” he said lightheartedly. “Truth told, I have to! Because under the terms of my contract, I have to host Jeopardy! for three more years!”

Trebek’s recent optimistic update

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Here's a summer update from Alex! ☀️

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In July 2020, Trebek, turning 80 on July 22, issued a video statement from his home in quarantine describing how well he was feeling and how equally excited he was to return to the Jeopardy! studio.

“I’m doing well,” Trebek said. “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. In fact, during the break from the studio I even wrote a book that will be coming out July 21.”

“I can’t wait to return to the studio and start recording shows for the new [37th] season in September,” he stated. “Meanwhile, my wish for all of you: Stay safe.”

Trebek’s recent admission to ‘The New York Times’

It was surprising, then, shortly after his July video update, that Trebek, in a conversation with The New York Times, reported his illness’ prognosis is not where he would like it to be.

The outlet described Trebek as enduring pain so agonizing at the outset of his treatments, he would “lay down on the floor of his dressing room, sobbing from the pain.” It also quoted the Canadian-born television personality as saying that if “his current course of cancer treatment fails, he plans to stop treatment.”

“Yesterday morning my wife came to me and said, ‘How are you feeling?’ And I said, ‘I feel like I want to die.’ It was that bad,” he said.

The popular show host went on to say that he has made peace with whatever course his illness decides to take.

“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,” he shared, “or whether you want to just ease yourself into the next level. It doesn’t bother me in the least.”

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