Legendary “Jeopardy!” host Alex Trebek shocked millions of beloved fans with his announcement that he had been diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer in 2019.
After Trebek revealed his cancer diagnosis, the one question on everyone’s mind was how he was going to carry on with his hosting duties as his health deteriorated.
In the most recent episode of the “This is Jeopardy!” podcast, the game show’s execs and Trebek’s family detailed some of their memories with the television icon leading up to his death.
Longtime supervising producer for “Jeopardy!” Rocky Schmidt recalled Trebek struggling to maintain his daily work routine during his cancer battle.
Schmidt said he would check in on Trebek between tapings and once found him in his dressing room, “on the floor, crying in pain.”
“When he was sick and taking medication… the pain the man had… you could watch him and it’s like ‘he’s not going to make it to the conference room table,’” Schmidt said, referring to the pre-game show meetings.
He expressed his concerns about Trebek carrying on with the show as he fought through his condition.
“He would go get made up and ready for the show… everybody would look at each other and go, ‘I don’t know if we’re going to be taping today.’”
“Somehow he rallied,” Schmidt remarked.
While fighting back tears, supervising producer Lisa Broffman recalled the moment Trebek announced he was suffering from his severe health condition.
“Alex called… and told us he had stage 4 pancreatic cancer,” she began.
“Alex, from the very beginning, said, ‘This is not going to affect anything.'”
She noted that Trebek was in good spirits after the daunting diagnosis saying, “‘I plan on fighting this. Let’s get back to work.'”
The official “Jeopardy!” Instagram page shared the revealing podcast interview on their social media.
Trebek had hosted “Jeopardy!” since 1984 – for a total of 37 seasons. He presided over more than 8,000 episodes.
During his career, he received the Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Game Show Host eight times for his work on “Jeopardy!”
His daughter, Emily, also shared on the podcast that, “there was no possibility of him not working,” after his cancer diagnosis.
“That was never an option,” she said.
Trebek and his wife, Jean, tied the knot in 1990 and had three children – adopted daughter Nicky, 40, Emily, 30, and Matt, 33.
The beloved “Jeopardy!” host lost his 20-month battle with pancreatic cancer on Nov. 8, 2020.
Following Trebek’s death, a series of guest hosts filled in for him for his final “Jeopardy!” season.
In July 2022, Mayim Bialik and Ken Jennings were announced as his co-successors and permanent hosts after they took turns for the show’s 38th season.