Lifestyle & Human Interest

'Jeopardy!' Host Alex Trebek Opens Up About Cancer Battle: 'It's Wearing on Me'


By now, most people are aware of longtime “Jeopardy!” host Alex Trebek’s battle with cancer. He’s fought valiantly, at times more or less hopeful about the future, but always ready to reach out when he can to encourage those around him.

While many near and far have wished the beloved game show host well, some of the people who’ve had the pleasure of meeting him in person have made the most generous gestures.

James Holzenhauer — known for his impressive winning streak while a contestant on the show — donated over $1,000 to a cancer walk in Trebek’s name. His daughter even made and sent Trebek a heartfelt card, which Trebek said he greatly appreciated.

Another champion, Avi Gupta, donated $10,000 to cancer research in Trebek’s name. Gupta said Trebek inspired him to give, and he also mentioned that he had looked up to Trebek his whole life.

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And who could forget Dhruv Gaur’s heartwarming “wrong” answer during “Final Jeopardy”?

“We love you, Alex!” became a popular hashtag on social media, and the movement has gone beyond Gaur’s original usage.

These are just a few of the ways former contestants and current fans have honored Trebek and put their money where their mouth is.

Despite all the support, though, Trebek is still struggling.

“I’m feeling OK,” he recently told USA Today. “Some days are better than others. I still have the effects of the chemotherapy; I’ve now had, I think, nine or 10 sessions. So it’s wearing on me.

“But I don’t have any choice. I just have to stick with it, and hopefully they’re going to find a new drug that will enable me to grow my hair back. That will be something I will be very happy about.”

Trebek admitted that though he pushes himself to get to tapings of the show, some days are especially rough.

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“I leave home and I’m in terrible shape sometimes,” he said. “And then I get here, and I get in the studio and I get hair and makeup done and get my wardrobe on, and the adrenaline kicks in and I go out onstage and it’s exciting for me, and it seems to work.

“I have to push myself; I work harder than I did before, because it’s harder for me to concentrate with all the chemo and stuff. I feel dull, and I tire easily, but that’s OK.”

Most of the time, Trebek’s professional demeanor is perfect, but every once in a while — like during Gaur’s supportive answer — he can’t help but be shocked and a little shaken.

“It surprised me on the show, obviously,” he said. “And it got an awful lot of press. I was thrown for a loop there. I started to tear up, but that’s OK; I tear up over a lot of things.”

The show must go on, and no doubt Trebek will continue to fill the role of host as long as he possibly can.

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