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Alex Trebek returns to work, thanks fans

Sudbury native revealed he has pancreatic cancer
Sudbury native Alex Trebek returned to work Wednesday, taping new segments for Jeopardy! a week after revealing he's battling pancreatic cancer. (File)

Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek returned to work Wednesday, taping new segments for the longtime gameshow, a week after revealing he's battling pancreatic cancer.

Trebek, 78, also released a video thanking everyone for their kind words since his diagnosis was made public.

“I just want to take a few moments to say thanks to the – believe it or not – hundreds of thousands of people who have sent in tweets, texts, emails, cards and letters wishing me well following my recent health announcement,” Trebek said. “I've heard from former contestants – even Watson the IBM computer sent me a get-well card.

“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 and I am thankful for the kind words the prayers and the advice you have offered and I'm extremely touched by the warmth you have expressed in your comments to me. I'm a lucky guy.”

Trebek, who was born in Sudbury, revealed March 6 he had stage 4 pancreatic cancer, usually a devastating diagnosis with a survival rate measured in months.

“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,” Trebek said March 6. “Also, I plan to beat the low survival rate statistics for this disease.” 

Trebek was born in Sudbury in 1940, and spent his early years growing up in the Flour Mill area of the city. His mother was francophone and his father was a Ukrainian immigrant.

Starting out on the CBC, where his hosting duties included Reach for the Top, Trebek has won five Daytime Emmy Awards and has 27 nominations for Outstanding Game Show Host. He holds the Guinness World Record for the most game shows hosted by the same presenter.

Trebek has received a Peabody Award, and several lifetime achievement and hall of fame honours, including stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and Canada’s Walk of Fame.

He headed to the U.S. in 1973, lured by another Northern Ontario native, the late Alan Thicke, to host a short-lived game show called The Wizard of Odds. More game show hosting duties followed until he became the star of Jeopardy! in 1984.

Earlier this week, the people behind the Up Here festival in Sudbury announced they were selling their Alex Trebek pins for $5 each in support of the Pancreatic Canada Cancer Foundation in Trebek's honour.