“I’m not afraid of dying,” longtime “Jeopardy!” host Alex Trebek says.
“I’ve lived a good life, a full life, and I’m nearing the end of that life,” he tells Canadian news network CTV. “If [death] happens, why should I be afraid [of] that?”
The 79-year-old, who announced a stage 4 pancreatic cancer diagnosis in March, plans to continue hosting the game show while he can.
“I will keep doing [the show] as long as my skills do not diminish. And they have started to diminish,” he adds.
The father of two returned to “Jeopardy!” in September after a four-month hiatus during which he underwent chemotherapy. He’s now undergoing another round.
A side effect of the treatment is that he now sometimes slurs his words due to sores in his mouth.
“There will come a point when [viewers are] no longer able to say ‘It’s OK,’” says Trebek, who has hosted the show since 1984. “We’ll play it by ear and keep chugging along until we either win or lose.”
Since announcing his diagnosis, he’s become a totem for people with the disease, he says, adding that he’s not sure he’s “strong enough or intelligent enough to help alleviate that despair.
“There are moments when I have some regrets about having gone public with it because … there’s a little too much of Alex Trebek out there and I regret that,” he tells CTV. “A lot of people are coming to me and looking for help, reassurance — and that’s tough.”
The odds of surviving pancreatic cancer are low, with only 5 to 10% of patients living five years after diagnosis.
“I’ve lived a good life, a full life, and I’m nearing the end of that life,” Trebek says. “One thing they’re not going to say at my funeral, as a part of a eulogy, is ‘He was taken from us too soon.’”