“I’m not afraid of dying,” Alex Trebek said in a new interview after doctors determined in September that the 79-year-old “Jeopardy!” host needed another round of chemotherapy to fight stage 4 pancreatic cancer.
“One thing they’re not going to say at my funeral, as a part of a eulogy, is ‘He was taken from us too soon,'” Trebek told told CTV’s Lisa LaFlamme in Ottawa on Friday.
Trebek said he had already begun his latest round of chemotherapy in the hope that his numbers will decrease and that he’s noticed some hair loss as part of the new treatment.
Trebek had previously said in May that he was in remission and returned to work on “Jeopardy!” in August to film the game show’s 36th season. Trebek’s strain of pancreatic cancer has a 9% survival rate.
“I’ve lived a good life, a full life, and I’m nearing the end of that life. I know that,” he said. “I’m not going to delude myself. So if it happens, it happens. Why should I be afraid that?”
Trebek also had mixed feelings about going public about his cancer diagnosis, saying he had some regrets about putting too much of himself out there and becoming the “spokesperson” for pancreatic cancer. He said he’s been approached by many people who have been dealt similar diagnoses and he’s struggled with finding the words to provide them solace.
“I don’t know if I’m strong enough or intelligent enough to alleviate some of that despair,” he said. “To be the inspiration to a lot of other people makes me feel good, but it does place a responsibility on me that I feel I’m not deserving of.”
Trebek was in Canada for an event at the University of Ottawa, his alma mater, to which he made a $2.1 million donation to the Alex Trebek Forum for Dialogue, which aims “enrich and broaden public debate” and preserve democracy across the world.
Trebek also fielded questions about his ability to continue on with filming “Jeopardy!” saying that he will work “as long as my skills do not diminish,” and that he can usually find the strength but there will come a time when he has to stop.
“There are weaknesses I feel in my body, but I can always suck it up when it’s time to tape the show,” he said. “There will come a point when they (fans and producers) will no longer be able to say, ‘It’s okay.'”
Watch the first part of Trebek’s interview on CTV above.