In a new interview, Alex Trebek revealed that he’s struggled with suicidal thoughts during his ongoing battle with stage IV pancreatic cancer.
Trebek, who has hosted “Jeopardy!” for 36 years, has been forthright about his fight with cancer, often remaining optimistic when publicly discussing his late-stage diagnosis.
But the medical journey has not been without its moments of difficulties for Trebek.
“You can’t be telling people ‘Keep your chin up, fight on!’ and then all of a sudden you counter that by: ‘What happened to Trebek?’ ‘Oh, he killed himself. He just got too discouraged,’” the quiz show host told the outlet. “‘Well, hell, he was telling us to be positive. And then he did this negative thing.’ So, yeah. That’s the responsibility that has bothered me.”
In his new memoir, “The Answer Is… Reflections on My Life” — which came out last Tuesday — Trebek opens up on some of the more emotional challenges he faced being in the limelight throughout his personal journey.
One of the things he reveals in the book, which is dedicated “to those who are hoping to become survivors,” is that he would break into fits of crying, which his oncologist advised were likely side effects of chemotherapy.
“He told me not to feel embarrassed, but I said, ‘I do feel a little embarrassed. I feel like a wuss. It’s not that men shouldn’t cry. It’s that, my God, Alex, get yourself together, here,’” Trebek recalled.
During his interview, the “Jeopardy!” disclosed an emotional episode he’d had just the day before, saying he started getting “very emotional for no reason that I can think of” while his son Matthew prepared dinner.
But he is better able to navigate the stress now.
“And then, the moment was gone. Thank God these things don’t last long. I know that now, so it doesn’t scare me as much as it used to,” Trebek said.
Last week, Trebek opened up about his life since announcing that he was diagnosed with cancer.
"I've received so many expressions of love and so many prayers said on my behalf since the diagnosis was made public that I thought, 'Well, maybe, maybe the people would care to learn something about me," Trebek said during an appearance on Good Morning America.
“The Answer Is… Reflections on My Life” is available through Simon & Schuster.