‘Wheel of Fortune’: Pat Sajak Said ‘It Must Be Death’ After Missing 2019 Tapings with Health Issues

by Halle Ames

Wheel of Fortune host Pat Sajak opened up about his health issues in 2019 that forced him to miss tapings of the game show. 

The Wheel of Fortune host for the past forty years had some grim thoughts when he had to be rushing into surgery in 2019. In an interview with Good Morning America, Pat Sajak revealed that he thought it was the end. 

“I remember thinking, not in a morbid way, ‘I think this must be death. This must be what death is like,'” Sajak recalled.

Sajak had to miss a few tapings of Wheel of Fortune to recover, but the show must go on. Vanna White took his place as host, while Sajak’s daughter, Maggie, served as the letter turner in place of White. 

It was the first time Sajak has missed the show in 40 years.

“It felt really bizarre to know that stuff was going on without me,” the host joked. “And going on well without me.”

Wheel of Fortune Host Reveals How His Family Took the News

The 74-year-old Wheel of Fortune host touched on his poor health and how his family took the news. 

“My blood pressure had fallen dramatically. They had to wait till it lifted a bit so they could do the surgery,” Sajak said. “My wife and our daughter were with me, and they were, you know, they didn’t know. I mean, you go in, and they don’t know if I’m coming out.”

Pat Sajak recalls the excruciating pain that he felt during his time in the hospital. 

“You couldn’t do anything. I was in [a] fetal position, lying on the bed,” Sajak recalled. “They try to give you various drugs for the pain. And none of it — none — was working. And then they gave me something, I couldn’t even tell you the name of it, but suddenly, I wasn’t thinking about the pain. I just had these beautiful pastels and lovely faces coming out of it.”

While still under the influence of intense pain medicine, the Wheel of Fortune host began to think the worst. After hearing his family’s voices, he started to imagine how they will fare after his death. 

“Hearing their voices, I thought, ‘Boy, their lives are gonna change now.’ And I felt badly for them. I didn’t feel badly about dying. I felt badly that they were going to have to deal with the aftermath,” he continued. “As it turned out, I was just high.”

The surgery was a “complete success,” and Pat Sajak was back on the set of Wheel of Fortune only a month later.  

Pat Sajak and Vanna White continue to host the hit game show and have extended their contracts until 2022.