Alex Trebek, the longtime host of popular game show Jeopardy!, has died at age 80. News of Trebek’s passing comes just one year and eight months after he announced he had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He is survived by his wife, Jean Currivan Trebek, and children Matthew Trebek and Emily Trebek. On Sunday morning, the official Twitter account for Jeopardy shared the news of Trebek’s passing, writing, “Jeopardy! is saddened to share that Alex Trebek passed away peacefully at home early this morning, surrounded by family and friends. Thank you, Alex.”
Trebek began his time as host of Jeopardy in 1984, collecting seven Daytime Emmys and a Peabody Award during the course of his 30-plus years as the show’s host. Trebek continued to host Jeopardy through early 2020, at which time the game show went on hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic. At the time of his passing, Trebek had hosted over 8,000 episodes of Jeopardy. He revealed his pancreatic cancer diagnosis in March 2019 via a brief and optimistic video. At the time, Trebek expressed hope concerning the diagnosis, reassuring fans that “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.”
It seems Trebek was born to be a charismatic television presence from a young age. Born and raised in Ontario, Canada, Trebek got his first taste at game show hosting in 1966 at quizmaster on CBC’s Reach for the Top. Trebek made the leap from Canadian television to American TV just a few years later when Alan Thicke helped secure Trebek as the host of short-lived game show The Wizard of Odds, a show Thicke was producing at the time. From there, Trebek appeared as either host or guest on shows like Double Dare, High Rollers, and Card Sharks before finally locking in his role as Jeopardy host. Over the course of the next three decades, Trebek became a major pop culture figure, not only serving at the face of Jeopardy but popping up as himself in movies and TV, including Beverly Hills 90210, The X-Files, How I Met Your Mother, and The Simpsons. Per IMDb, it appears Trebek will also make a posthumous appearance in the upcoming Ryan Reynolds‘s action-comedy Free Guy.
In October 2019, just six months after Trebek announced his diagnosis, he gave an on-camera interview with CTV’s Lisa Laflamme. The interview focused on Trebek’s battle with pancreatic cancer and his emotions around this development. Trebek gave his candid thoughts about the realities of his diagnosis, at one point telling Laflamme how he felt about the possibility of death as a result of his pancreatic cancer: “I’m 79-years-old, so, I’ve lived a good life, a full life, and I’m nearing the end of that life, I know that. I’m not gonna delude myself. So, if it happens, it happens. And, why should I be afraid of it?”
You will be missed, Mr. Trebek. Rest well.
Jeopardy! is saddened to share that Alex Trebek passed away peacefully at home early this morning, surrounded by family and friends. Thank you, Alex. pic.twitter.com/Yk2a90CHIM
— Jeopardy! (@Jeopardy) November 8, 2020