CULVER CITY, Calif. — Alex Trebek has been diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer.
The 78-year-old 'Jeopardy!' host revealed the diagnosis on Wednesday in a YouTube video.
Last summer, Trebek told TMZ founder Harvey Levin that he was likely to depart 'Jeopardy!' when his contract ended in 2020. But, he later renewed his deal through 2020. And, in a statement on Wednesday, Trebek said he plans to continue hosting and fight his cancer.
"Normally, the prognosis for this is not very encouraging, but I’m going to fight this, and I’m going to keep working," Trebek said. "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."
The five-time Daytime Emmy award winner holds the Guinness World Record for most game show episodes hosted by the same presenter. He has hosted nearly 8,000 episodes of the popular television program.
In 2018, Trebek took medical leave after he fell and got blood clots on the brain. He underwent surgery and later returned to work.
'Jeopardy!' has been dubbed 'America's Favorite Quiz Show.' It airs at 7:30 p.m. ET on 10News (WTSP) in Tampa.
Who is Alex Trebek?
Alex Trebek was born in Sudbury, Ontario and earned a philosophy degree from the University of Ottawa, where he has developed scholarships, sponsored a lecture series and supported construction. Trebek holds an honorary doctorate from the university, which also gave him its top award for alumni achievement.
He covered national news and special events for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation before debuting on American television as the host of NBC's "Wizard of Odds" game show in 1973.
The original daytime version of 'Jeopardy!' premiered on NBC with Art Fleming as host in 1964. That iteration ended in 1975.
There was then a nighttime syndicated version and a revival of the show before the current style, the daily syndicated version produced by Sony Pictures Entertainment, debuted with Trebek as host in 1984.
Described by the show as one America's most enduring and iconic figures, Trebek was named to the Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame in 2013. Then, in 2018, he and the program were inducted into the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Broadcasting Hall of Fame.
In 2011, 'Jeopardy!' and Trebek were honored with the prestigious Peabody Award for "encouraging, celebrating and rewarding knowledge.”
In 2017, he received Canada's second-highest civilian honor when he was named an officer of the Order of Canada.
Trebek is one of only a handful of celebrities to boast a star on both the Canadian and Hollywood Walk of Fame.
The 'Jeopardy!' host has been a consistent supporter of the humanitarian aid organization World Vision International. And, he has traveled to third-world countries on behalf of its causes.
Trebek lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Jean. The couple has two adult children: Emily, an LA real estate developer, and Matthew, who owns two restaurants in Harlem, New York.
What is pancreatic cancer?
Pancreatic cancer develops in the tissues of a person's pancreas, which is located in the abdomen and sits behind the lower part of the stomach.
The roughly 6-inch organ sort of looks like a pear laying on its side, according to the Mayo Clinic. The pancreas helps the body digest food and manage blood sugar.
When someone is diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, cells in their pancreas have developed mutations in their DNA. The Mayo Clinic says that can cause the cells to grow uncontrollably and form a tumor. If left untreated, the cancer can spread to nearby blood vessels and organs.
According to the Mayo Clinic, pancreatic cancer often spreads rapidly and is often not detected early.
The American Cancer Society says treatments might include chemotherapy, radiation or surgery.
Symptoms of pancreatic cancer
Pancreatic cancer risk factors may include family history, smoking, diabetes, obesity, chronic inflammation of the pancreas and old age.
When combined, smoking, diabetes and poor eating habits can significantly increase a person's risk of pancreatic cancer, according to the Mayo Clinic.
In fact, according to the American Cancer Society, obese people are roughly 20 percent more likely to develop pancreatic cancer.
The American Cancer Society says heavy workplace exposure to certain chemicals used in dry cleaning and metal industries can also elevate a person's risk of the disease.
Symptoms can include pain in a person's belly or back, loss of appetite or sudden weight loss, nausea and vomiting, blood clots, fatigue, yellowing of the skin, depression and diabetes.
If you think you may have pancreatic cancer, you should see a doctor immediately.
Doctors recommend avoiding smoking and maintaining a healthy lifestyle as the best ways of preventing the disease.
Flashback: Thousands walk to fight pancreatic cancer
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