The world was shocked when Alex Trebek released a video revealing that he has been diagnosed with stage IV pancreatic cancer. But as people close to the iconic gameshow host know, he will give it all that he has during his uphill battle.

“He always says, ‘No matter what, I power through.’ He really is hopeful,” a friend exclusively tells Closer. “He’s got all the help and the care money can buy.”

“Just like 50,000 other people in the United States each year, this week I was diagnosed with stage IV pancreatic cancer. Normally, the prognosis for this is not very encouraging, but I’m going to fight this and I’m going to keep working. 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 Jeopardy! host said in the unexpected announcement on March 6. “So help me. Keep the faith and we’ll win. We’ll get it done. Thank you.”

Alex Trebek
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The 78-year-old’s doctors made his diagnosis after the TV personality went for his annual checkup. “He knew he was feeling a little bit off, but he didn’t know the reason,” explains the friend, adding that the diagnosis didn’t bring down Alex’s positivity. “He loves his life, his work and his family,” the friend shares. “He knows what a privileged, blessed life he has, and he wants more of it.”

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This is not the first time that Alex has been hit with health issues, as he survived two heart attacks (in 2007 and 2012) and has dealt with a blood clot in his brain — also known as a subdural hematoma — in 2017, so it’s pretty clear he’s one tough guy. “It shook him up a bit, but he’s pretty steady,” the friend reveals.

All that said, Alex’s fight promises to be a tough one. “Usually for stage IV pancreatic cancer, the next step would
be chemotherapy,” Dr. Heinz-Josef Lenz of the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center explains to Closer. “In recent years the chemotherapy regimen has improved survival, and many new promising smart drugs and antibodies are being developed.”

Alex Trebek
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Alex’s friend adds that knowing the battle that lies ahead has not stopped him from enjoying his life. “He loves to work with his hands. He loves his animals,” reveals the pal. “He also loves to just hang with his wife and kids and watch movies.” Alex has been married to Jean Currivan since 1990 and they have two kids together — Matthew, 28, and Emily, 25. He also considers stepdaughter Nicky, 50, a part of his family since he helped raise her during his early marriage to Elaine Callei. He and his wife also belong to a church. “Faith is vital to him,” confides the friend. “His beliefs are his bedrock.”

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Everyone is pulling for Alex to win this fight, and his friend wants his supporters to know that if there’s anyone who can beat this, it’s Alex. “He is savvy,” notes his friend. “He’s been around a long time. He’s a survivor in a tough showbiz world that usually gets rid of guys his age … You will never hear Alex being anything but positive and hopeful.”

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Alex Trebek
Closer Weekly