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‘Jeopardy’ host Alex Trebek says he faced bouts of ‘great depression’ since cancer diagnosis

Alex Trebek, host of “Jeopardy!”

Eric McCandless

Nearly one year after telling the world that he had been diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer, “Jeopardy” host Alex Trebek has revealed that he is now one of 18% of patients to survive the first year following this kind of diagnosis. Now, he’s promising to be among the 7% to reach the two-year mark.

The 79-year-old game show host on Wednesday posted a video on the “Jeopardy” Twitter page to update fans about his health.

“Now I’d be lying if I said the journey had been an easy one,” he said in the video. “There were some good days, but a lot of not-so-good days. I joked with friends that the cancer won’t kill me, the chemo treatments will.”

“There were moments of great pain, days when certain bodily functions no longer functioned, and sudden, massive attacks of great depression that made me wonder if it really was worth fighting on,” he added.

Trebek said he brushed those thoughts aside quickly, saying it would have been a betrayal of his wife Jean, of cancer patients who looked up to him and of his faith in God and the prayers said on his behalf. 

“My oncologist tried to cheer me up the other day. … He was certain that one year from now, the two of us would be sitting in his office celebrating my second anniversary of survival,” he said. “If we take it just one day at a time, with a positive attitude, anything is possible.”

Trebek has served as the face of “Jeopardy” since the evening show debuted in 1984 and has acted as the host for nearly 8,000 episodes. He currently holds the Guinness World Record for Most Game Show Episodes Hosted by the Same Presenter.

For now, it doesn’t seem that Trebek has any plans to retire from the gig.

Correction: This story was revised to correct that the 1984 debut was for the evening “Jeopardy” show.