Today’s new episode of Jeopardy! revealed a far more emotional moment than anyone expected. Host Alex Trebek revealed during the broadcast that he has been diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer, a disease that does not often carry with it encouraging news.
Yet, Trebek also explains (you can watch the video below) that he plans to continue working on the show and to fight the disease with all of his strength — he asks for prayers and support, and then concludes the segment with some of his signature dry humor, noting that he has three more years left on his contract and he needs to see that through. (Trebek recently re-upped his deal, even though he has long faced rumors of retirement.)
Trebek has hosted Jeopardy!, the most successful syndicated quiz show of its kind, since 1984 and has become a pop culture icon as a result of it. He is recognizable all over the world and is known for his quick wit, careful attention to the show’s rules, and also the bond he makes with some of the series’ most successful contestants. Being a part of Jeopardy! is like being invited to an exclusive family, where Trebek often sits at the head of the table. He steers the ship effectively every episode and as much fun as it is to tune in to see how much money people win he’s the reason most of us tune in..
Trebek’s impact goes beyond also just the various headlines and viral-video tidbits that you can see throughout the internet; much of it is emotional to go along with it being tangible. Trebek has helped to inspire people all over the world to become trivia buffs, and to inspire people to pursue knowledge. These are not qualities that are often encouraged elsewhere, but Jeopardy! is a show about the facts, knowing the past, and also understanding the present. For contestants, taking home that prize may be a primary incentive, but we also feel as though meeting the man behind the program and the glory of taking part are fairly high on the list as well. We say that as a former Who Wants to Be a Millionaire contestant who understands the thrill of trivia and the feeling of being in that sort of environment — you want to win, but you also recognize the history that surrounds you and the excitement of that moment.
Alex Trebek is a gem of a human and a truly irreplaceable individual. We’re sending him, as well as all of his family and loved ones, all of our love and support during this trying time. We also look forward to continuing to see him on television as he keeps fighting the good fight. (Photo: Jeopardy!)