Pancreatic cancer: 5 celebrities who battled the disease

Jerry Springer’s unexpected death after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer has shined a light on the disease that has taken the lives of several notable people over the past few decades.

On average, 50,000 Americans every year are diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer, according to the University of Colorado Cancer Center.

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Here are five celebrities who battled pancreatic cancer in addition to the talk show host and former mayor.

1. Alex Trebek

The host of “Jeopardy!” made the difficult announcement that he had been diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. He said he had a pain in his stomach that would not go away and after tests, he found out that he had cancer. Despite chemotherapy treatments, Trebek continued to work as the host of the answer and question quiz show.

He said during the announcement about his health, “Normally, the prognosis for this is not very encouraging, but I’m going to fight this, and I’m going to keep working,” adding, “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.”

He died at home at the age of 80 on Nov. 8, 2020, living about twice as long as someone after they receive their diagnosis, USA Today reported.

2. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had been first diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2009 and again in 2019, according to The Associated Press. She died of complications from metastatic pancreatic cancer on Sept. 18, 2020.

3. Luciano Pavarotti

Operatic tenor Luciano Pavarotti had a cancerous mass in his pancreas and doctors performed surgery in 2006 to remove it. He died from complications from pancreatic cancer on Sept. 6, 2007, at the age of 71, according to WebMD.

4. Alan Rickman

Actor Alan Rickman kept his cancer diagnosis a secret from most people outside of his family and friends, the Belfast Telegraph reported at the time of his death. He died from the disease on Jan. 14, 2016, at the age of 69. He had told close friends of his illness in December 2015, Huffington Post reported.

5. Patrick Swayze

“Dirty Dancing” and “Ghost” heartthrob Patrick Swayze was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer and then 22 months later died in 2009 at the age of 57, the “Today” show reported. His wife, Lisa Niemi Swayze, told “Today” that it was “a tough fight and talk about a hero. He was a hero and just fought heroically” through the battle.