LOS ANGELES -- As he faces pancreatic cancer, "Jeopardy!" host Alex Trebek thanked viewers for their outpouring of support, calling himself "a lucky guy" after hearing from hundreds of thousands of fans.
Trebek said at the top of Thursday's episode that he had been sent tweets, letters and emails with good wishes -- including notes from former contestants and a card from Watson, the IBM computer.
"Obviously I won't be able to respond to all of you individually, but I did want you to know that I do read everything I receive," Trebek said. "I am thankful for the kind words, the prayers and the advice you have offered and I am extremely touched by the warmth you have expressed in your comments to me."
Trebek's message came a week after he announced that he had been diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. He returned to work days after his announcement to continue taping new episodes of "Jeopardy!," according to the show's producers.
He has served as the face of the game show since it made its debut in daytime syndication in 1984. With nearly 8,000 episodes under his belt, Trebek holds the Guinness World Record for Most Game Show Episodes Hosted by the Same Presenter.
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The only time somebody other than Trebek has hosted an episode of this iteration of "Jeopardy!" was when Trebek and "Wheel of Fortune" host Pat Sajak swapped shows for an April Fool's prank, according to the Associated Press.
"Jeopardy!," seen by an estimated 24 million viewers each week, has been renewed through the 2022-2023 season with Trebek under contract through the 2021-2022 season. He said in a July 2018 interview before his most recent contract renewal that he could imagine a life after "Jeopardy!" but would continue hosting the show "if I'm still enjoying it and if I'm not making too many mistakes."
The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences has honored Trebek with a lifetime achievement award as well as five Daytime Emmy awards for Outstanding Game Show Host. He won a Peabody Award in 2011 and has been inducted into the Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame and the National Association of Broadcasters Broadcasting Hall of Fame.
A native of Greater Sudbury, Canada, Trebek began his career as a television and radio newscaster for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. He made his debut on the air in America in 1973.
Alex Trebek thanks fans for outpouring of support after cancer diagnosis: 'I'm a lucky guy'