His role as the 'Jeopardy!' host earned Trebek five Daytime Emmy Awards and a spot in the Guinness Book of Records.
Alex Trebek, the legendary TV game-show host who quizzed Jeopardy! contestants on history, geography, hip-hop lyrics, "Potent Potables," and "Potpourri," died in Los Angeles on Sunday morning at age 80. "Jeopardy! is saddened to share that Alex Trebek passed away peacefully at home early this morning, surrounded by family and friends," said a statement shared on the show's Twitter account yesterday. "Thank you, Alex." Trebek's death comes less than two years after the genial television personality revealed in March 2019 that he had been diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer.
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
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. My deepest condolences to his family, friends, and all who are mourning this tremendous loss. pic.twitter.com/XoobAfJwBv— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) November 8, 2020
Jeopardy! executive producer Mike Richards described the father-of-three's death as an "enormous loss" for the show's crew in a statement on Sunday, reports NBC News. The producer said it was an honor to work with Trebek the past year and a half as the host continued working even while undergoing treatment for cancer. "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," Richards said. "His constant desire to learn, his kindness, and his professionalism will be with all of us forever."
Alex was so much more than a host. He was an impartial arbiter of truth and facts in a world that needs exactly that. He was someone you could count on to entertain you every weekday, even when his health barely allowed it. And he was an underrated rapper: pic.twitter.com/ybvp7RlvjH— James Holzhauer (@James_Holzhauer) November 8, 2020
Fordham University mourns the death of Alex Trebek, Fordham parent, benefactor, and Founder's Award recipient. Our hearts go out to his wife, Jean; daughter, Emily; and son, Matthew, FCRH '13, and all of Alex's family and loved ones.— Fordham University (@FordhamNYC) November 8, 2020
Speaking to CNN's Ana Cabrera, Richards said that Trebek was "the most professional person" he'd ever worked with in any capacity. "Here he was battling, cancer, pain, chemo, exhaustion... but you couldn't tell when the cameras rolled. As a professional, the fact that he kept pushing and that he recorded what would now be his final episodes less than two weeks ago, gives you an idea of just how much he believed in the show, how much he cared for it. But then, as a man, he was an amazing dad and he loved [his wife] Jean so much that it was inspirational. He was really that great."
Thinking today about his family and his Jeopardy! family—which, in a way, included millions of us.— Ken Jennings (@KenJennings) November 8, 2020
A vigil for Alex Trebek at his star on Canada’s Walk of Fame in Toronto pic.twitter.com/MaSJiiL5la— Sarah Sears (@iamSas) November 9, 2020
Trebek, who hosted more than 8,200 episodes of Jeopardy! over 37 seasons — the most by a presenter of any single TV game show — reportedly filmed his last show on October 29, reports CNN. The show will continue to air episodes hosted by him for the next six weeks and said that it would not announce plans for a new host just yet. "We didn't that it was going to be his last," Richards said of Trebek's final taping but added that the host had not quite been for his usual filming schedule of five shows a day. "He was in pain and we knew it. He'd had surgery. I couldn't believe he was already back from the surgery that he'd had just two weeks before that."
Alex Trebek, you brought us so much knowledge, both important and fun, through the years. Your final battle with cancer was heroic, and we are heartbroken that it has taken you from us. I’ll take “Great TV Personas of Our Time” for $800. The heavens have all the answers now.— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) November 8, 2020
Alex Trebek was kind enough to film a cameo for our film Free Guy last year despite his battle. He was gracious and funny. In addition to being curious, stalwart, generous, reassuring and of course, Canadian. We love you, Alex. And always will.— Ryan Reynolds (@VancityReynolds) November 8, 2020
I like that Alex Trebek made sure to outlast his fictional adversary Sean Connery. I will always hope that his last words were, “No YOU suck it, Connery!”— Armie Hammer (@armiehammer) November 8, 2020
The answer is..... THANK YOU! Alex Trebek. You were grace and guts and humor and deep love.— Jamie Lee Curtis (@jamieleecurtis) November 8, 2020
"I had chills the entire tape day. That first show of that final week — which is the week of Christmas — he gives a speech, talking about togetherness [and] how important family is. It will resonate even more now. It was so beautiful that we were all emotional, we were all in tears, and we all started clapping and it almost distracted him because he was going, 'Okay, now let's play 'Jeopardy!' It was one of those days [where] he was at the top of his game even though, clearly he was very ill," Richards revealed.
“He really was the show. He craved knowledge.” -- Jeopardy! Executive Producer Mike Richards reflects on the life and legacy of Alex Trebek. pic.twitter.com/TIuwTelZyU— Ana Cabrera (@AnaCabrera) November 8, 2020
Pancreatic cancer is a terrible illness. My heart goes out to Alex Trebek and his family. To find out more about pancreatic cancer and resources if someone you know has it, go to @PanCAN.— Mindy Kaling (@mindykaling) November 9, 2020
Born in Sudbury, Ontario, Trebek studied philosophy before becoming a reporter for the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. He switched from journalism to hosting game shows in 1966, starting with a quiz show titled Reach for the Top and a few years later, Jackpot. Trebek landed his big break in 1984 when producer-host Merv Griffin chose him to emcee a revival of Jeopardy! paired with another hit game show, Wheel of Fortune. It went on to earn Trebek five Daytime Emmy Awards for his role as host and a spot in the Guinness Book of Records as the person who had hosted the most game-show episodes.
"I believe laughter is one of the greatest cures that we can possibly have." #AlexTrebek said in a 2019 interview he wants to be remembered as a "nice man" who "helped people through his charity work" and was "kind to everybody he encountered." https://t.co/FkuEt7ZwkS pic.twitter.com/l1xahKfZPy— 20/20 (@ABC2020) November 9, 2020
For those of us who engage in the precious weeknight ritual of shouting at the TV screen and pretending to click imaginary buzzers, losing Alex Trebek is like losing a family member. #Jeopardy https://t.co/rK0MlFTB7I— Elaine Low (@elainelow) November 9, 2020
"I'm just enjoying what I'm doing, I'm happy to have a job. I like the show, I like the contestants, and it pays well," Trebek said of the honor in a 2014 interview. Although he began hinting it might be time to retire in 2018, he agreed to sign one last contract extension, which was to run through 2022. "He loved that 'Jeopardy!' popularized intelligence and it was important for him," said Richards. "I think he really became synonymous with the show, in that he really was that smart." The iconic host "reveled in these intelligent people, in the contestants, in the writers," Richards revealed, adding that Trebek would review every clue for each show, rewriting them, and giving them his own flavor. "It's just who he was -- he craved knowledge. And it showed."
We’re saddened by the passing of legendary @Jeopardy host Alex Trebek. Earlier this year, he helped us recruit the next generation of astronauts – a testament to his dedication to challenging us to expand our knowledge. pic.twitter.com/Z4vwbLy1yn— NASA (@NASA) November 8, 2020