In a candid new interview, Alex Trebek said he’s ‘not afraid of dying’ because he’s ‘lived a good life,’ but suggests that side effects from his latest pancreatic cancer treatment are beginning to impact his speech and may force him to put an end to his Jeopardy! hosting days.
‘The thought of the pancreatic cancer does not frighten me,’ Trebek told CTV Friday, adding that he’s ‘not afraid of dying.’
‘As I told somebody the other day, one thing they’re not going to say at my funeral, as a part of a eulogy – ‘He was taken from us too soon,” he added.
Trebek is continuing to host Jeopardy! – which is now in its 36 season, amounting to nearly 8,000 episodes – but he hinted that he may need to stop soon.
He is undergoing a second round of chemotherapy, which has taken a toll on his body.
‘I will keep doing it as long as my skills do not diminish,’ he added, but admitted that his skills ‘they have started to diminish.’
He said that the chemotherapy has left him with mouth sores and difficulty enunciating some words. He said he finds himself ‘slurring words, my tongue doesn’t work as well as it used to,’ but that although he notices, those around him say it’s okay.
‘I’m sure there are observant members of the television audience that notice also, but they’re forgiving,’ he said, adding that ‘there will come a point when they will no longer be able to say, ‘It’s okay.”
In a candid new interview, Alex Trebek revealed that he’s ‘not afraid to die’ and that he may need to step back from his Jeopardy! hosting duties due to chemotherapy side effects
Trebek said he’s lived ‘a good life’ but that he’s ‘chugging along until we either win or lose’
‘I’m 79 years old. Hey, I’ve lived a good life, a full life, and I’m nearing the end of that life. I know that, I’m not going to delude myself. If it happens, it happens and why should I be afraid of it?’
Trebek did note that the one thing that does potentially scare him is the possibility of having to ‘suffer a great deal,’ but he said that ‘we can cover that with pills and medication of one kind or another.’
The long-time Jeopardy! host revealed that he was diagnosed with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer in March.
In May, he thought that the cancer was in remission following a round of chemotherapy, but by September he said that he needed another round of chemo because his follow-up immunotherapy was doing ‘diddly squat.’
He noted that after going ‘all the way down to numbers that correspond with a normal human being without cancer,’ the test results skyrocketed, going ’50 per cent higher than when it was first diagnosed. Go figure.’
Trebek (left) said that the chemotherapy has left him with mouth sores that make it hard for him to enunciate and that he’s noticed he’s slurring his words while hosting Jeopardy! lately
Trebek (in May) said that he’ll keep hosting the show until he says he can no longer do it, when it comes to the point when his skills diminish so much that it’s not longer okay to keep going
Trebek has been hosting Jeopardy! for 36 seasons, amounting to nearly 8,000 episodes
But, Trebek said that he’s ‘hanging in’ and that ‘we’ll play it by ear and keep chugging along until we either win or lose’.
As a result of his treatment, Trebek said that his eyesight ‘gets messed up a little’ and that he’s started to get joint pain. The little hair that had started to grow back after the previous round of chemo has also disappeared again and he’s ‘back to wearing the creation of another man.’
During the interview, Trebek admitted that there are times when he ‘some regrets’ about having gone public about his pancreatic cancer and become a ‘de facto flag carrier’ for it- ‘there’s a little too much Alex Trebek out there’ – and because ‘A lot of people are coming to me and looking for help, reassurance – and that’s tough.’
He said that it’s hard ‘trying to be as optimistic as you can when the other person feels none of that, they feel only despair. And I don’t know if I was strong enough or intelligent enough to help alleviate some of that despair, so it’s touch for me.’
In his own life, he said that relies on his wife, Jean, for strength when he’s having ‘a bad experience,’ since his kids no longer live at home. Although he knows the kids care and ‘that one thing that upsets them is that I’m not as communicative as I should be.’
Despite having said that he has lived a full life, Trebek joked that it ‘does bother me that I might pass on before I get to have a grandchild. Hint, hint.’
But in all seriousness, he said that the desire to ‘to make a difference in the lives of people’ is what motivates him to keep fighting.