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Alex Trebek announces cancer diagnosis in YouTube video

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Canadian “Jeopardy!” host Alex Trebek announced he’s been diagnosed with advanced pancreatic cancer in a YouTube video on Wednesday that had a positive tone despite the grim prognosis.

“Just like 50,000 other people in the United States each year, this week I was diagnosed with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer,” Trebek said in the message posted on the “Jeopardy!” YouTube channel.

“Now, 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.

“Truth told — I have to, because under the terms of my contract, I have to host ‘Jeopardy!’ for three more years,” the 78-year-old continued, wearing a signature suit on the “Jeopardy!” set and employing the wry wit he has brought to the hit quiz show for decades.

“So help me: keep the faith and we’ll win. We’ll get it done. Thank you.”

Born in Sudbury, Ont., Trebek attended the University of Ottawa and hosted a number of CBC TV programs early in his career, including the high school quiz show “Reach for the Top.”

He moved to the United States in the 1970s and became an American citizen in 1998. He and his wife, Jean Currivan, have two children.

Trebek has won several Emmy Awards for hosting “Jeopardy!” since 1984. With a matter-of-fact delivery style and genial personality, the role has made him a worldwide star and the subject of spoofs on “Saturday Night Live.”

Trebek received the Order of Canada medal in 2017 in recognition of his “iconic television work” and commitment to educational, environmental and humanitarian causes.

In late 2017, “Jeopardy!” went on hiatus after Trebek underwent surgery for blood clots on his brain caused by a fall.

Several months after the surgery, he appeared in a video on the show’s Facebook page, wearing a “Jeopardy!” baseball cap. Using the same tone he employs to explain difficult subjects on the show, the unflappable Trebek said: “I had a slight medical problem, subdural hematoma, blood clots on the brain caused by a fall I endured about two months ago.”

In 2007, he was hospitalized for about a week after suffering what was described as a minor heart attack.

Sharing his cancer diagnosis was “in keeping with my longtime policy of being open and transparent with our ‘Jeopardy!’ fanbase,” Trebek said.

“I also wanted to prevent you from reading or hearing some overblown or inaccurate reports regarding my health. So therefore, I wanted to be the one to pass along this information.”

Social media was flooded with tributes for Trebek after his announcement.

Former Ontario premier Bob Rae shared his sympathies on Twitter, calling Trebek a “very fine man.”

Ken Jennings, who holds the record for the longest winning streak on “Jeopardy!,” tweeted that he hopes Trebek finds comfort in the millions of fans who are rooting for him, warning L.A. oncologists that they better prepare themselves to have their pronunciations corrected.

“Alex Trebek is in a way the last (Walter) Cronkite: authoritative, reassuring TV voice you hear every night, almost to the point of ritual,” he tweeted, referring to the late broadcaster known as the “most trusted man in America.”

Singer-songwriter Ron Sexsmith also sent his positive thoughts to the “great Canadian” via social media.

— With files from Adina Bresge, David Friend and the Associated Press

Victoria Ahearn, The Canadian Press



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Leaders, moderators confirmed for 2019 English, French debates

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federal debate

OTTAWA — Five party leaders have confirmed they will participate in two major televised election debates in October, the media group producing the events announced Tuesday.

The Canadian Debate Production Partnership said Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer, the NDP’s Jagmeet Singh, Green party Leader Elizabeth May and the Bloc Quebecois’ Yves-Francois Blanchet will all attend the English debate Oct. 7 and the French one Oct. 10.

Both events are to be held at the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau, Que. Election day is Oct. 21.

The Leaders’ Debates Commission, an independent body set up to organize the debates this year, sent invitations to the five confirmed leaders last week but did not offer a spot to Maxime Bernier, leader of the People’s Party of Canada.

The PPC did not meet criteria established by the federal government for participation in the debates, the commission found. But the commission gave the party until Sept. 9 to provide further evidence that they have a chance at winning multiple seats in the fall, which could earn Bernier a spot at the events.

In its announcement Tuesday, the partnership also revealed the moderators for the English debate: CBC’s Rosemary Barton, Susan Delacourt of the Toronto Star, Global’s Dawna Friesen, CTV’s Lisa LaFlamme and Althia Raj of HuffPost Canada.

Patrice Roy of Radio-Canada will moderate the French debate, along with journalists from French outlets Le Devoir, Le Soleil, La Presse and L’Actualite.

Also on Tuesday, Maclean’s magazine announced it will partner with Citytv to hold a debate Sept. 12 in Toronto. Maclean’s said leaders for the Tories, NDP and Greens have confirmed their participation so far.

“The Liberals have not yet confirmed Justin Trudeau’s participation but an invitation remains open and the debate will go forward regardless,” the magazine said in a post on its website.

Columnist Paul Wells will moderate the debate, which will focus on the economy, foreign policy, Indigenous issues, and energy and the environment.

The Sept. 12 date makes the Maclean’s event the first major debate in the election period, though it remains unclear precisely when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau plans to officially fire the starting gun. The latest he can do so is Sept. 15.

Christian Paas-Lang, The Canadian Press



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Music composer from France killed by bear while working in northern Canada

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Julien Gauthier

YELLOWKNIFE — A Canadian composer living in France has been killed while working in the Northwest Territories.

French media reports say Julien Gauthier was attacked last week by a bear.

The RCMP did not name the victim but said the body of a man was found on Friday after a bear attack near Tulita along the Mackenzie River.

The Brittany Symphony Orchestra in northwest France posted a statement on Facebook announcing the death of its associate artist.

The symphony said Gauthier had been collecting sounds in the remote region and was travelling with a researcher he had met in the Antarctic.

The post said Gauthier wanted to use music to show his love and respect for nature.

“His work was faithful to his inquisitive mind, humble in front of the vast power and beauty of nature,” said the post written by Marc Feldman, a manager with the symphony.

“I am extremely happy to have known Julien. He brought me a sense of adventure, wonder and a rare intelligence. I am going to miss him terribly. We still had so much road to travel together.”

Gauthier’s web page says he also taught music at the Gennevilliers Conservatory and worked with the Paris Philharmonic.

The Canadian Press

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