“Jeopardy!” fans can finally exhale.
After four months on the mend, Alex Trebek returned to his iconic game show Monday night. The host was back on the air a mere six months after being diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer.
“I truly hope you folks have enjoyed revisiting some of our special tournaments throughout this past summer,” Trebek said during the season premiere. “But today, ‘Jeopardy!’ begins its 36th season on the air, and I’m happy to report, I’m still here.”
Trebek, 79, was back in fine form hosting the show, which saw defending “Jeopardy!” champion Jason Zuffranieri win his seventh game in a row, bringing his career winnings to a whopping $166,500.
Twitter fans were overjoyed at his return, with many posting “crying” memes while one wrote, “Today is the first day of #Jeopardy Season 36, and Alex Trebek is hosting! I could not be happier to see him back doing what he does best: inspiring millions to listen, learn and grow.”
Trebek announced to his followers that he was battling cancer in March: “Normally, the prognosis for this is not very encouraging,” he said at the time. “But I’m going to fight this, and I’m going to keep working, and with the love and support from my family and friends and with the help of your prayers also, I plan to beat the low survival rate statistics for this disease.”
Fast-forward to May, and Trebek announced his chemotherapy was going so well that doctors declared him “near remission.” Trebek called his recovery “mind-boggling” in an interview with People magazine, adding, “The doctors said they hadn’t seen this kind of positive result in their memory … some of the tumors have already shrunk by more than 50 percent.”
It was a remarkable feat considering the low survival odds for pancreatic-cancer patients, with only 5 to 10 percent of them making it five years beyond diagnosis. Pancreatic cancer kills 45,750 people annually, according to the American Cancer Society.
“Let me tell you, it’s going to be a good year,” Trebek said in a video interview about Season 36.
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