Less than three weeks ahead of the annual awards show, Alex Trebek has officially opted out of making an appearance at the 2020 Canadian Screen Awards.
The Jeopardy! host’s attendance was “always tentative,” as confirmed by a representative of the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television (or the Canadian Academy) on Wednesday.
Trebek, 79, is set to be honoured with a special tribute at the event later this month in the midst of a lengthy battle with stage IV pancreatic cancer, according to the Hollywood Reporter (THR).
Instead of appearing at Toronto-based ceremony, however, Trebek will pre-record an “acceptance” message — which will be shown live onscreen during the nationwide broadcast at the end of this month, according to the Canadian Academy.
The news comes only a week after Trebek gave a public update regarding his cancer, diagnosed last March, where he expressed his gratitude for surviving one year with the life-threatening disease.
In Canada, an estimated 5,500 people were diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and 4,800 died from it in 2017, according to the Canadian Cancer Society.
According to the U.S. National Cancer Institute, the five-year survival rate for pancreatic cancer from 2008 to 2014 was 8.5 per cent.
It’s currently unclear if the much-beloved host’s reasoning to skip the Canadian Screen Awards was related to the COVID-19 pandemic, however, THR suggested on Tuesday that the decision was related to his ongoing cancer treatment and chemotherapy.
In regards to the panic surrounding the rapidly-spreading novel coronavirus, the Canadian Academy issued a statement to its official website earlier this week, revealing it would not be cancelling or postponing the upcoming awards show.
“As Canadian Screen Week draws near and COVID-19 continues to dominate the headlines, we want you to know that we are committed to making our events as safe as possible,” the Academy wrote.
The statement continued: “We continue to remain in close contact with all levels of government about the situation, and using risk assessment tools provided by the Federal government, we have determined that the majority of Canadian Screen Week events hold a low risk for our attendees.”
Global News has reached out to the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television seeking further comment.
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