Apple’s co-founder Steve Jobs shocked the world when he lost his life to a rare form of pancreatic cancer on Oct. 5, 2011. On Wednesday, March 6, longtime “Jeopardy!” host Alex Trebek, 78, dropped a bombshell—he had been diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer.
This deadly form of cancer is often termed as the silent killer, as it is difficult to detect and has an extremely low survival rate. A person who has been diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer usually lives between two to six months, according to Healthline.
Trebek made the announcement of the life-threatening disease “in keeping with my longtime policy of being open and transparent with our Jeopardy! fan base..”
In a video uploaded to the Jeopardy! YouTube channel, the Canadian-American game show host calmly said: “I wanted to be the one to pass along this information.”
“Now, just like 50,000 other people in the United States each year, this week I was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer,” he continued.
Despite the presumably grim prognosis of this disease, Trebek vowed to overcome it.
“Now normally, the prognosis for this is not very encouraging, but I’m going to fight this, and I’m going to keep working. And with the love and support of my family and friends and with the help of your prayers also, I plan to beat the low survival rate statistics for this disease,” Trebek, who has hosted Jeopardy! since 1984, said with confidence.
Trebek has also been a Guinness World Record holder for the “most game show episodes hosted by the same presenter.”
One lucky fan from the audience got an autograph and photo op with Alex!
To lighten up the mood, Trebek jokingly said he had no choice but to win the battle, as he has more “Jeopardy!” shows to host for the next three years.
He requested fans to “help me. Keep the faith, and we’ll win. We’ll get it done. Thank you.”
A Message from Alex Trebek:
Posted by Jeopardy! on Wednesday, 6 March 2019
The tragic news prompted many celebrities to send Trebek words of support through social media.
Wheel of Fortune host Pat Sajak tweeted: “The Sajak family is deeply saddened to hear of Alex Trebek’s struggle with cancer. Our hearts go out to him and his family. But there is no one I know who is stronger and more determined, and I would never bet against him. We, and the entire country, are pulling for you, Alex.”
The Sajak family is deeply saddened to hear of Alex Trebek’s struggle with cancer. Our hearts go out to him and his family. But there is no one I know who is stronger and more determined, and I would never bet against him. We, and the entire country, are pulling for you, Alex.
— Pat Sajak (@patsajak) March 6, 2019
When people are forced to face their own mortality, they tend to discover what truly matters to them, and for Trebek, it seems like it is his wife of 29 years, Jean Currivan.
In an interview with PEOPLE, he admitted his “one regret in life was he didn’t meet his wife earlier.”
He said: “But my wife Jean and I have been together almost 29 years, and I was thinking about President Bush when he died, and all the comments about his life about what a nice guy he is, and how he and his wife had been together 73 years. I thought, oh my gosh … if I’d just met Jean in my 20s we could have had a longer life together.”
Currivan revealed to PEOPLE she was friends with Trebek for some time after they first met. She was attracted to Trebek because of the “deep sensitivity” hidden within his “gruffy exterior.”
“I kept thinking, he’s 24 years older than me .. but there was something that just kept drawing me to him,” Currivan said.
Even though the chances of pancreatic cancer being cured at this stage is very low, treatment might help improve the quality of the patient’s life. But with the support of Currivan and their two children—Matthew, and Emily—along with immense support from his friends, as well as fans, Trebek’s battle against cancer will not be a lonely journey.