In an interview with the Canadian news program W5, Trebek, 79, opened up about his health and career, saying he will continue to host the popular evening game show “as long [his] skills don’t diminish.” And though he’s been adamant about remaining on Jeopardy!, which he’s hosted for 35 years, the TV personality now admits, his skills have “started to diminish.”
“I talk to the producers about this all the time now. I say, ‘Look, I’m slurring my words. My tongue doesn’t work as much, as well as it used to. The chemo has caused sores inside my mouth. It makes it difficult for me to speak and enunciate properly,’” he told W5 on Saturday, October 5. “They say, ‘Well, we don’t notice.’ I notice those things. And I’m sure there are observant members of the television audience who notice also.”
The Canadian-born star announced his cancer diagnosis in March. “Just like 50,000 other people in the United States each year, this week I was diagnosed with stage IV pancreatic cancer,” he said in a video posted to YouTube at the time. “Now, normally the prognosis for this is not very encouraging, but I’m gonna fight this and I’m gonna keep working and with the love and support of my family and friends and with the help of your prayers also, I plan to beat the low survival rate statistics for this disease.”
Though he shared news that he was on the mend in August, Trebek told Good Morning America in September that he was starting a second round of chemotherapy. “My hair started to grow back, but now I have to undergo chemo again, so what little hair I have grown [this summer] is going to disappear again,” he said. “In terms of getting my strength back, that hasn’t happened, unfortunately.”
Trebek continues to fight on, but he’s not afraid of dying. “I’ve lived a good life, a full life, and I’m nearing the end of that life,” he told W5. “If it happens, why should I be afraid that?”
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