For just over a year now, “Jeopardy!” host Alex Trebek has been battling cancer. Last summer, he announced that his stage 4 pancreatic cancer went into remission. Unfortunately, four months later in October, the game show host found out his cancer had resurfaced and that he would undergo another round of chemotherapy.
Although he felt he was “nearing the end of his life” at the time, his condition has improved. He recently admitted that his “current numbers” are “very good” due to an immunotherapy program he’s been following.
While quarantined due to COVID-19, Trebek was able to publish his latest memoir. In it, he says that he’s not afraid of death, nor does he believe in God or an afterlife.
On Tuesday, Trebek released his memoir titled “The Answer is…: Reflections of My Life.” The book contains his honest feelings and thoughts concerning is battle with cancer and the treatments. He wrote that whether he overcomes his diagnosis, it’s not indicative of him as a person.
“[It] is simple biology. You get treatment and you get better. Or you don’t. And neither outcome is an indication of your strength as a person,” the 80-year-old host wrote.
Despite his cancer diagnosis, Trebek revealed in March that the treatment has caused him to question life more than anything. He said he would have given up if it weren’t for the support of those closest to him and his fans.
“It would certainly have been a betrayal of my faith in God and the millions of prayers that have been said on my behalf,” Trebek said of his drive not to quit fighting.
In his memoir, the Canadian native confessed that he has had moments of extreme weakness. He tries to maintain his optimism, but says that he’s been tempted to “pack it in” and call it quits.
“I understand that death is part of life. And I’ve lived a long life. If I were in my 20s with years ahead of me, I might feel differently. But when you’re about to turn 80, it’s not like you’re missing out on a great many things,” Trebek wrote.
“The will to survive is there, and then you get hit with shock waves — whether pain or unpredicted surges of depression or just debilitating moments of agony, weakness.”
On Wednesday, Trebek clarified a statement he made in his memoir that he would forgo his cancer treatment if it stopped working.
“I feel the need to clarify my quote that if my course of cancer treatment does not continue to work, I would consider stopping treatment,” Trebek said in a statement. “That quote from the book was written BEFORE my current regimen, and I was going through some bad times.”
He said that if his current treatment “stopped being successful,” he would go back to his previous chemotherapy treatment, rather than stopping all treatment.
Despite this clarification, he and his doctor are preparing finances for hospice care if chemo is not longer an option. Trebek said that he isn’t afraid to die.
“When death happens, it happens. Why should I be afraid of it?” Trebek wrote. “Now, if it involves physical suffering, I might be afraid of that. But according to my doctor, that’s what hospice is for. They want to make it as easy as it can possibly be for you to transition into whatever future you happen to believe in.”
He added that he doesn’t believe in a particular God or “a particular version of the afterlife.” He says he just hopes he is remembered as a “good and loving husband and father, and also as a decent man who did his best to help people perform at their best.”