Beloved "Jeopardy!" host Alex Trebek has been battling cancer for a little over a year now and in his new memoir, The Answer Is ... Reflections on My Life, he admits that he’s not afraid of death nor does he believe in a specific God or afterlife.
The book was released this week and in it the 80-year-old TV personality is honest about the emotional toll his bout with pancreatic cancer has had on him.
Trebek writes that his ability to overcome his diagnosis "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."
In March of this year, Trebek, who has hosted "Jeopardy!" for 35 years, said his cancer diagnosis is not what's been difficult for him. Instead, it’s the treatment that has caused him to question life.
At the time, Trebek shared that he would've given up were it not for his support system. "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 reason for not giving up earlier.
In the memoir, however, the father of two reveals that although he still tries to be optimistic, he has other moments when he’s “ready to pack it in."
Trebek writes that his reason is "because 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. 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."
The Canadian native details the great pain he's felt at times when filming "Jeopardy!," including mouth sores and stomach pains caused by chemo.
"I know there will come a time when I can no longer do my job as host," he writes while assuring readers that he will go on as long a physically possible.
"You could replace me as the host of the show with anybody and it would likely be just as popular," Trebek continued. "Hell, after 36 years with me, it might even be more popular. The show might be even more appreciated than it is with me as host."
Trebek is still in treatment but said if it fails and chemo is no longer an option, he and his doctor have come up with a plan. The TV host is already preparing finances for hospice care with his wife of 30 years, Jean Currivan.
"When death happens, it happens. Why should I be afraid of it?" Trebek pens. "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."
Trebek adds that he doesn't believe in any particular god or "a particular version of the afterlife."
The game show icon said he hopes to be 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."
"Here I am wanting to enjoy what might be the last of my days, and, what, I’m supposed to just stay at home and sit in a chair and stare into space? Actually, that doesn't sound too bad," he said due to having to stay in quarantine because of COVID-19.
"Yep, I’ll be perfectly content if that’s how my story ends: sitting on the swing with the woman I love, my soul mate, and our two wonderful children nearby," Trebek maintained.
Cancer is not Trebek’s first health battle.
In October 2017, he was diagnosed with subdural hematoma after hitting his head during a fall and underwent surgery the next day.
Trebek is a longtime spokesperson for the Christian humanitarian group World Vision.