“Jeopardy!” host Alex Trebek celebrated his 79th birthday with friends, family and well-wishers amid his ongoing battle with stage 4 pancreatic cancer.
The famed host announced his diagnosis in a video message to fans in March and said that he planned to continue working as the host of “Jeopardy!” while undergoing treatment. While he made good on that promise so far, he’s been very open about the treatment causing him depression and intense physical pain on set.
However, he was all smiles in photos shared to the show’s Instagram account Monday as he stood by his loved ones at a large celebration in a ballroom decorated with balloons and streamers. The host sported a more casual look in jeans and a button-up than the typical suit and tie that he wears on the show. In some of the shared photos, he poses alongside his wife, Jean Currivan, 54 and their children Emily, 26, and Matthew, 29.
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“Today is Alex’s birthday! 🎉 Send him your wishes in the comments below,” the caption for the images reads. Fans were quick to listen and share their positive thoughts with the 79-year-old star.
“Alex!! You are an institution! I’ve been watching you host Jeopardy since I was a toddler. Many happy returns, thank you for enriching all of our lives,” one user commented.
“I wish nothing but health and happiness for you Mr Trebek! Thank you for all of the love you give us through your fascinating show. Lots of love and happy birthday,” another wrote.
“Happy Birthday to you, Alex! Praying for your continued healing in the coming year,” a third commented.
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The birthday bash comes roughly two months after Trebek shared with People that his doctors are shocked at how well his tumors are responding to his chemotherapy treatment.
“It’s kind of mind-boggling,” he said at the time. “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.”
Trebek revealed that he cried “happy tears” when he learned that the treatment was working after struggling with it for weeks. He noted that he believes he has a distinct edge over the average person battling the disease.
“I’ve got a couple million people out there who have expressed their good thoughts, their positive energy directed toward me and their prayers,” he shared. “I told the doctors, this has to be more than just the chemo, and they agreed it could very well be an important part of this.”
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He continued: “I’ve got a lot of love out there headed in my direction and a lot of prayers, and I will never ever minimize the value of that.”