Alex Trebek ‘wishes’ he met his wife of 29 years earlier so they ‘could have a longer life together’

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Alex Trebek announced on Wednesday that he has been diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer.

And two months before revealing the news, the longtime host of TV quiz show Jeopardy! said in January that he wishes he met his wife Jean, 54, earlier in the life.

The 78-year-old told People two months ago: ‘I’m pretty satisfied with my life. But my wife Jean and I have been together almost 29 years, and I was thinking about President Bush when he died, and all the comments about his life about what a nice guy he is, and how he and his wife had been together 73 years.’

Sweet thought: two months before revealing the news, Alex Trebek said in January that he wishes he met his wife Jean earlier in the life; pictured June 14, 2014 in Hollywood, CA

Sweet thought: two months before revealing the news, Alex Trebek said in January that he wishes he met his wife Jean earlier in the life; pictured June 14, 2014 in Hollywood, CA

He continued: ‘I thought, oh my gosh… if I’d just met Jean in my 20s we could have had a longer life together.’

Alex joked to the outlet: ‘I guess if I’d met her when I was in my twenties she wouldn’t have been born yet. But hey, 29 years is pretty good!’ 

He was previously married to Elaine Callei; they wed in 1974 and divorced in 1981. They had no children together. 

Alex and his wife Jean Currivan married in 1990; they have two children together: Matthew, 29, and Emily, 27.

In love: The 78-year-old told People two months ago: 'I'm pretty satisfied with my life. But my wife Jean and I have been together almost 29 years, and I was thinking about President Bush when he died, and all the comments about his life about what a nice guy he is, and how he and his wife had been together 73 years;' pictured May 30, 1990 in Hollywood, CA

In love: The 78-year-old told People two months ago: ‘I’m pretty satisfied with my life. But my wife Jean and I have been together almost 29 years, and I was thinking about President Bush when he died, and all the comments about his life about what a nice guy he is, and how he and his wife had been together 73 years;’ pictured May 30, 1990 in Hollywood, CA

Matthew Trebek is the owner of the popular Mexican eatery Oso in New York City.

Emily works in real estate in Los Angeles, according to People

Jean told the outlet in January that they were just friends for a while before it ever got romantic.

She said to People: ‘There was just this deep sensitivity about him with a gruffy exterior. I kept thinking, he’s 24 years older than me… but there was something that just kept drawing me to him.’ 

Jean said that he’s got a ‘great sense of humor,’ he’s ‘intelligent’ and ‘curious,’ adding ‘he takes his job very seriously but won’t take himself too seriously.’ 

Family: Alex and his wife Jean Currivan married in 1990; they have two children together: Matthew, 29, and Emily, 27; pictured in Beverly Hills on February 22, 2015

Family: Alex and his wife Jean Currivan married in 1990; they have two children together: Matthew, 29, and Emily, 27; pictured in Beverly Hills on February 22, 2015

She said to the magazine: ‘We have our challenges, and then we have our really beautiful times where we’re just so blessed to know that we’re in each other’s courtyard.’ 

Two months after his sweet remarks about his wife, Alex recorded a message on YouTube, saying: ‘Now, just like 50,000 other people in the United States each year, this week I was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer.’ 

‘Now normally, the prognosis for this is not very encouraging, but I’m going to fight this, and I’m going to keep working. 

Strength: The longtime Jeopardy host announced on Wednesday that he has been diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer

Strength: The longtime Jeopardy host announced on Wednesday that he has been diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer

‘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.’ 

‘Truth told, I have to! Because under the terms of my contract, I have to host Jeopardy! for three more years!’ 

‘So help me. Keep the faith and we’ll win. We’ll get it done. Thank you.’ 

Trebek, who has been the host of Jeopardy! for 35 seasons, will immediately begin chemotherapy treatment, Tmz reported.

The syndicated program is viewed by 23 million people each week, making it the top-rated quiz show on U.S. television. 

Jeopardy! is produced by Sony Pictures Television Sony, a division of Sony Corp, and distributed by a division of CBS Corp. 

The Ontario native has had a few recent health scares.

In December 2017, he underwent brain surgery after he was admitted to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

Trebek was experiencing complications from a fall the month before when he hit his head.

Amazing: Trebek is seen above during his first season hosting the successful quiz show in 1984

Amazing: Trebek is seen above during his first season hosting the successful quiz show in 1984

Icon: The syndicated program is viewed by 23 million people each week, making it the top-rated quiz show on U.S. television

Icon: The syndicated program is viewed by 23 million people each week, making it the top-rated quiz show on U.S. television

On December 16, he underwent surgery to remove a subdural hematoma, which occurs when there is a build-up of bleeding on the brain usually after a head injury.

In 2012, he suffered a mild heart attack. In 2015, he needed to host Jeopardy! sitting down due to a knee replacement that he underwent.

In May, he signed a new contract keeping him on as Jeopardy! host through 2019-2020 – the show’s 36th season on air.   

WHAT IS PANCREATIC CANCER?

Pancreatic cancer is one of the most lethal forms of the disease. Around 95 percent of people who contract it die from it.  

Joan Crawford, Patrick Swayze and Luciano Pavarotti all died of pancreatic cancer. 

It is the fourth-leading killer in the United States. Around 10,000 people are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer each year in the UK, and 50,000 in the US.

WHAT IS THE CAUSE? 

It is caused by the abnormal and uncontrolled growth of cells in the pancreas – a large gland in the digestive system.

WHO HAS THE HIGHEST RISK?

Most cases (90 percent) are in people over the age of 55. Around half of all new cases occur in people aged 75 or older. One in 10 cases are attributed to genetics.

Other causes include age, smoking and other health conditions, including diabetes. About 80 percent of pancreatic cancer patients have some form of diabetes. 

WHY IS IT SO LETHAL?

There is no screening method for pancreatic cancer. Pancreatic cancer typically does not show symptoms in the early stages, when it would be more manageable. 

Sufferers tend to start developing the tell-tale signs – jaundice and abdominal pain – around stage 3 or 4, when it has likely already spread to other organs. 

WHAT ARE THE SURVIVAL RATES? 

For all stages of pancreatic cancer combined, the one-year survival rate is 20 percent. At five years, that rate falls to just nine percent. 

If the cancer is caught in stage 1A, the five year survival rates is about 14 percent and 12 percent for 1B. 

At stage 2, those rates are seven and five percent, respectively. For a pancreatic cancer in its third stage, only three percent of people will survive another five yaers. 

By stage IV, the five-year survival rate falls to just one percent.  

WHAT ARE THE TREATMENT OPTIONS? 

The only effective treatment is removal of the pancreas. This proves largely ineffective for those whose cancer has spread to other organs. In those cases, palliative care is advised to ease their pain at the end of their life.  


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