Lifestyle & Human Interest

Alex Trebek Plans Farewell Message for Final Episode, Says Cancer Has Left Him Struggling with Depression


Fans of ‘Jeopardy!’ have long wondered how long their beloved host would be able to maintain his position on the show. For many, the show isn’t really ‘Jeopardy!’ without Trebek, and his replacement will signal a major change for the show and its viewers.

Trebek has held on tenaciously, through treatment after treatment, admitting that the process was wearying and definitely has taken its toll — and yet he’s managed to muster up the strength time and again to get in front of the contestants and cameras and do his thing.

“Throughout my life, I’ve always wondered about how courageous a human being I was,” Trebek told ABC News in an exclusive interview regarding the show and his stage-4 pancreatic cancer diagnosis. “I just look at it as it’s a part of life. Does that mean I’m courageous because I’m dealing with it? No. I could be scared to death and I’d still have to deal with it.”

While his wife struggles with seeing Trebek “in pain and I can’t help him” and still thinks he drinks “too much diet soda,” it’s clear the couple is braving this disease together, as a unit.

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“It’s always tough for caretakers because she has to deal with her worrying about my well-being and also dealing with … I’m not always the most pleasant person to be around when I’m experiencing severe pain or depression, and she has to tread lightly around me,” Trebek admitted, adding that his doctor warned him that he would experience bouts of depression.

“I have learned something in the past year and it’s this: We don’t know when we’re going to die,” he added.

“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.”

According to ABC News, Trebek has vowed to continue hosting the show “as long as my skills have not diminished,” but it seems that that time may be nearing.

One source close to Trebek claims that “he has no plans to quit, and is absolutely not announcing his retirement [anytime soon],” according to People. However, the celebrity host is turning his thoughts toward that future certainty, and he has his final goodbye mapped out.

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“It’ll be a significant moment for me,” Trebek told ABC. “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.'”

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