Beloved Jeopardy host Alex Trebek stopped by Good Morning America on Wednesday to provide an update on his health, after having been diagnosed with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer earlier this year. Despite ups and downs, Trebek has filmed 50 episodes since his diagnosis, but plans to rest and recuperate over the summer months before returning for season 36 in September.
Despite the seriousness of his condition, Trebek opened up on his cancer battle with his trademark combination of candid honesty and sense of humor. “My oncologist tells me I’m doing well, even though I don’t always feel it,” he told host Robin Roberts, who herself is also a cancer survivor:
I’ve had kidney stones, I’ve had ruptured discs so I’m used to dealing with pain, but what I’m not used to dealing with is the surges that come on suddenly of deep, deep sadness, and it brings tears to my eyes. I’ve discovered in this whole episode, ladies and gentleman, that I’m a bit of a wuss, but I’m fighting through it — my platelets, my blood counts are steady, my weight is steady, the numbers that are cancer indicators, those are coming down. So, I’ve got another chemo next week and we’ll do a review to find out where things stand.”
Chemo affects people in different ways, and people have to understand that. There’s nothing wrong with saying, ‘Hey, I’m really depressed today and I have no idea why. Why am I crying?'”
On a lighter note, Trebek also took a moment to discuss James Holzhauer, the latest Jeopardy sensation who recently hit the $1 million mark in the shortest span ever in the game’s history. Trebek admitted that he’s just as excited as the rest of America watching the 34-year-old gambler lay waste to competition night after night. So much so that the phenomenon has forced him to “change a view” that he had held for many years.
“And that is that the Ken Jennings record would never be broken,” Trebek admitted of Holzhauer, who has now won 74 consecutive games. “But I look at James and I say, ‘Oh my gosh, look at what he’s doing.'”
Near the end of the interview, Roberts steered the conversation back to the subject of Trebek, who gave a heartfelt answer about how much the outpouring of support has meant to him, when asked what he’s learned him himself since his diagnosis.
“I think I’ve learned that I’m an extremely lucky individual. Because in spite of the fact that this diagnosis is not a good one, I have managed to receive so much love from so many people, and quite often you don’t get that during your lifetime,” he told Roberts. “After you’re passed, after you’re dead, people will say, ‘He was such a nice guy, we really liked him,’ but I’m getting all that before that event. So it makes me feel really, really good.”