Beloved Jeopardy host Alex Trebek dies at 80 after cancer battle
Jeopardy host Alex Trebek died Sunday morning at age 80, the show confirmed. “Jeopardy is saddened to share that Alex Trebek passed away peacefully at home early this morning, surrounded by family and friends,” the official Jeopardy account tweeted. “Thank you, Alex.”
Last year, Trebek posted a video on Twitter and YouTube telling fans he’d been diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer, but that he remained hopeful. “Normally, the prognosis for this is not very encouraging, but I’m going to fight this, and I’m going to keep working,” Trebek said.
Trebek hosted the long-running Jeopardy series since 1984, and his contract was to continue through 2023. New Jeopardy episodes hosted by Trebek will continue to air through Dec. 25. His last day in the studio was Oct. 29.
“He was a legend of the industry that we were all lucky to watch night after night for 37 years,” Jeopardy executive producer Mike Richards said in a statement. “Working beside him for the past year and a half as he heroically continued to host Jeopardy was an incredible honor. His belief in the importance of the show and his willingness to push himself to perform at the highest level was the most inspiring demonstration of courage I have ever seen. His constant desire to learn, his kindness and his professionalism will be with all of us forever.”
“We have lost an icon. Almost every night for more than three decades, Alex Trebek entertained and educated millions around the world, instilling in so many of us a love for trivia,” Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau tweeted. “My deepest condolences to his family, friends, and all who are mourning this tremendous loss.
In January, when Trebek was asked by Entertainment Weekly what he wanted to say on his final episode of Jeopardy, he said, “I will say my goodbyes and I will tell people, ‘Don’t ask me who’s going to replace me because I have no say whatsoever. But I’m sure that if you give them the same love and attention and respect that you have shown me for the past 30-odd years, then they will be a success and the show will continue being a success. And until we meet again, God bless you and goodbye.”
As expected, many of Trebek’s friends, colleagues, and past contestants showed their love for the game show host on social media.
“Alex wasn’t just the best ever at what he did. He was also a lovely and deeply decent man, and I’m grateful for every minute I got to spend with him,” legendary Jeopardy contestant Ken Jennings tweeted on Sunday. Jennings holds the record for the longest winning streak on the US game show Jeopardy with 74 wins.
“I was on Jeopardy twice. In 1998 I was on the first-ever Back to School special,” former contestant Kendra James tweeted. Alex Trebek was so nice to 15+ 10-11 year-olds — my nightmare. I wore a too shiny silver shirt from Limited Too, which Alex kept joking (kindly) about needing sunglasses to look at. RIP.”
“So sad to hear of the passing of my friend Alex Trebek,” actor Ed Asner tweeted. “He was a fighter and also one of the nicest people on this planet. He has left his mark on the world and in our hearts.”
“We mourn the loss of Alex Trebek — a friend, a colleague, an icon. He graced us with warmth, wit and pure elegance, which is why we welcomed him into our homes night after night, year after year. We are deeply saddened for his wife Jean, his family and millions of Jeopardy fans,” Disney Executive Chairman Bob Iger tweeted.
Fans will have a chance to see Trebek in the upcoming movie.
“Alex Trebek was kind enough to film a cameo for our film Free Guy last year despite his battle,” actor Ryan Reynolds tweeted. “He was gracious and funny. In addition to being curious, stalwart, generous, reassuring and of course, Canadian. We love you, Alex. And always will.”
Other fan tributes to Trebek on Twitter show how much the game show host will be missed. “The greatest quiz show host ever, never to be equaled,” wrote Peter Sagal, host of National Public Radio game show Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me. “RIP, Alex Trebek.”