Alex Trebek says the positivity he’s been getting from fans and loved ones have made his battle with pancreatic cancer easier to endure.
In an interview with ABC News, the host of “Jeopardy!” acknowledged he might not have a lot of time left to live. He said that prayer and the fans who’ve expressed support have helped him feel better.
“I have learned something in the past year and it’s this: We don’t know when we’re going to die,” Trebek said during an ABC News special. “Because of the cancer diagnosis, it’s no longer an open-ended life, it’s a closed-ended life because of the terrible … survival rates of pancreatic cancer. Because of that, and something else that is operating here, people all over America and abroad have decided they want to let me know now, while I’m alive, about the impact that I’ve been having on their existence.”
“They have come out and they have told me, and my gosh, it makes me feel so good,” Trebek added.
One of those people, “Jeopardy!” contestant Dhruv Gaur, wrote a message of support instead of an answer during a Final Jeopardy round in November. Gaur wrote, “What is… We [love] you, Alex!”
Trebek said the message caught him by surprise.
“I read it first and then I got choked up because it suddenly registered on me: ‘Oh, dear. OK. Yeah,’” Trebek said.
The three highest money winners in “Jeopardy!” history are coming to ABC in a primetime competition hosted by Trebek next week. “Jeopardy! The Greatest of All Time” premieres Tuesday, Jan. 7, from 8-9 p.m.
The television event brings together the three highest money winners in the long-running game show’s history: Ken Jennings, Brad Rutter and James Holzhauer.
The 79-year-old Trebek has said he’ll continue to host “Jeopardy!” as long as his skills have not diminished but noted the process has already begun. He said he’s already thought about how he’ll say goodbye to all those who will one day watch his last show.
“It’ll be a significant moment for me,” he said. “But I’ve kind of, in my mind, rehearsed it already, and what I would do on that day is tell the director, ‘Time the show down to leave me 30 seconds at the end. That’s all I want.’ And I will say my goodbyes and I will tell people, ‘Don’t ask me who’s going to replace me because I have no say whatsoever. But I’m sure that if you give them the same love and attention and respect that you have shown me…then they will be a success and the show will continue being a success. And until we meet again, God bless you and goodbye.”