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Alex Trebek received a huge outpouring of support since revealing he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in March, but fighting this disease has had an unexpected side effect.

The longtime Jeopardy! host, 79, opened up about facing his battle with stage IV cancer during a one-hour ABC News special, airing Thursday, January 2. Trebek reflected on an emotional November episode of the classic quiz show, when a contestant sidestepped the question in front of him and expressed his love for Trebek instead. Dhruv Gaur caught the host by surprise when he wrote, “What is … We love you, Alex,” as his final answer.

“I read it first and then I got choked up because it suddenly registered on me: ‘Oh, dear. OK. Yeah,’” Trebek said to ABC News. “I don’t mind getting choked up. My oncologist told me one of the symptoms, if you will, of pancreatic cancer is that you get these moments of depression, sadness.”

Trebek first announced his shocking diagnosis to the world in a YouTube video in March, when he vowed that he would continue working while he fought and received treatment. Shortly after giving the emotional update on his health, the pop culture icon thanked the “hundreds of thousands” of fans who sent their love and prayers to him and his family.

“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 said in a video shared to the Jeopardy! Twitter account that same month.

Fans aren’t the only ones supporting Trebek as he continues his battle with pancreatic cancer. Fellow game show mainstay Vanna White commended the Jeopardy! host for his bravery and gave a promising update on her friend’s health.

“He looks good. I talked to him recently and he’s got a very positive attitude,” White, 62, told Us Weekly exclusively on December 10. “He’s still working, he’s obviously doing chemotherapy but working through it, and has that strong will to, as we say, the show must go on.”

What Is Jeopardy? Alex Trebek and America’s Most Popular Quiz Show airs on ABC on Thursday, January 2, at 8 p.m. ET.

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