Alex Trebek, who has hosted the game show Jeopardy! for almost 35 years, announced that he has been diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer.
Trebek broke the news via a video message on the official Jeopardy! Twitter account. “Normally, the prognosis for this is not very encouraging,” Trebek said, “but I’m going to fight this.” With support from his family, his friends, and his fans, Trebek intends to keep working at until his Jeopordy! contract expires in 2022.
“Help me. Keep the faith, and we’ll win. We’ll get it done,” Trebek said. As CNN notes, the average 5-year survival rate for pancreatic cancer patients is 9%. Trebek is currently 78 years old.
Trebek’s career began in 1963, when he served as host for the Canadian music show Music Hop, although his stint on the program only lasted a single season. He moved into game shows shortly thereafter, hosting Canadian Broadcasting Corporation programs like the high school quiz competition Reach for the Top and Strategy.
In 1973, Trebek moved to the United States and began working for NBC as the host of The Wizard of Odds, and spent the ’70s and early ’80s presenting shows like High Rollers, The $128,000 Question, and Battlestars, in addition to making regular appearances as a panelist and competitor on other programs.
In 1984, Sony Pictures Television revived the popular quiz show Jeopardy!, which originally aired on NBC from 1968 to 1975, as a syndicated program with Trebek as the host. Trebek quickly became the de facto face of the series, and earned millions of fans for his no-nonsense attitude and dry sense of humor.
After the news regarding Trebek’s health broke, fans and celebrities alike expressed their support for Trebek on social media. Pat Sajak, the long-time host of Wheel of Fortune, tweeted, “there is no one I know who is stronger and more determined [than Trebek], and I would never bet against him.” Former Jeopardy! contestant Ken Jennings, who holds the record for the longest winning streak on the show, called Trebek “the last Cronkite: authoritative, reassuring TV voice you hear every night, almost to the point of ritual,” and said that he is “pulling” for the host.
If you want to see why Trebek has earned legions of fans all over the world, select episodes of the quiz show are available on both Netflix and Hulu, while new installments of the show’s 35th season air every day in syndication. Check your local TV listings for more information.