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Alex Trebek Admits ‘Struggling’ Through Prime-Time ‘Jeopardy!’ Special Amid Cancer Hell

Alex Trebek Admits ‘Struggling’ Through Prime-Time ‘Jeopardy!’ Special
Source: ABC/Eric McCandless

Jan. 8 2020, Updated 3:39 p.m. ET

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Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek admits the pressures of taping a prime-time special took a toll on his already fragile health.

As readers know, Trebek, 79, suffers from stage four pancreatic cancer. He revealed the diagnosis last March and has since been open about his battle with the deadly disease.

But on the eve of the start of the much-anticipated prime-time special, Jeopardy! The Greatest of All Time, featuring top contestants Ken JenningsBrad Rutter and James Holzhauer, going against each other, Trebek confessed he “struggled a bit” onstage.

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Reassurances from producers that no one noticed did little to satisfy the game show legend.

“I said, ‘Well, I noticed,’” Trebek commented.

As recently reported, Trebek is preparing for the inevitable end of his game show hosting abilities. Although he has yet to announce a final show, the long-time host knows how he wants to go out.

“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,'” he said on a recent ABC special. “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.'”

Alex Trebek

In August 2019, Trebek announced that his tumors had shrunk 50 percent, giving him hope.

“I was doing so well. And my numbers went down to the equivalent of a normal human being who does not have pancreatic cancer. So we were all very optimistic,” he told Good Morning America in September.

But then, seemingly out of nowhere, his health took a fall.

“I lost about 12 pounds in a week. And my numbers went sky high, much higher than they were when I was first diagnosed,” he said. “So, the doctors have decided that I have to undergo chemo again and that’s what I’m doing.”

Trebek has had good days and bad while undergoing treatment, but according to Jennings, who holds the record for most wins on Jeopardy!, the show must go on.

“The chemo is rough, but he can always just turn it on,” Jennings said. “The music came on, the lights came on, he would just stride out there and nail that show like nobody else. It was exciting to see him doing so well and taking that diagnosis so bravely. To me, he’s the last of that kind of old-school broadcasters, and it’s such a pleasure to watch.”



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