Longtime “Wheel of Fortune” host Pat Sajak, who was absent from the show for several weeks, suggested that he has a few years left as host of the popular ABC game show.
“I’ve actually felt ridiculously good for several weeks. I’ve been back in the studio spinning the wheel and nothing has popped,” he told ABC’s “Good Morning America.”
When he was asked about retirement, Sajak, who has hosted the show since the early 1980s, said he is planning to retire in two to three years. Sajak was away from the show in November after he underwent emergency stomach surgery, leaving the hosting duties to co-star Vanna White.
“I don’t have a date in mind, but you know, two, three [years],” the 73-year-old told the morning show.
Sajak recalled being rushed to the hospital after experiencing severe stomach pain in November. Two hours later, he was having emergency surgery.
“It was that quick and that intense,” Sajak said, adding that the pain was due to an intestinal block. His blood pressure also fell dramatically.
“You couldn’t do anything. I was in [a] fetal position, lying on the bed,” he said. “They try to give you various drugs for the pain. And none of it was working. And then they gave me something, I couldn’t even tell you the name of it, but suddenly, I wasn’t thinking about the pain.”
He added: “In the background, I could hear my wife and daughter talking. It sounded like they were a mile off, but they were right next to me. They were talking to each other. And I remember thinking, not in a morbid way, ‘I think this must be death. This must be what death is like.’”
Sajak said he felt bad for his wife, Lesly, and his daughter.
“Hearing their voices, I thought, ‘Boy, their lives are gonna change now.’ And I felt badly for them. I didn’t feel badly about dying. I felt badly that they were gonna have to deal with the aftermath,” he explained.
The health scare also led Sajak, who has reportedly taped more than 7,000 episodes of the show, to think about retirement.
He said, “What I’m really sensitive about is… I’d rather leave a couple of years too early than a couple of years too late.”