Alex Trebek, the famed host of Jeopardy who entertained viewers with his wit as well as comedic timing, has passed away. He was 80.
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The news was first reported by TMZ.
“Jeopardy is saddened to share that Alex Trebek passed away peacefully at home early this morning, surrounded by family and friends,” a show spokesperson told the outlet.
Trebek was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer in March 2019 and begun undergoing chemotherapy treatments. However, he wasn’t retiring from the show and continued to show up to work for a full year, even during the COVID-19 pandemic. For a full year, Trebek worked and even saw his cancer go in brief remission before returning earlier this year. He stated the odds of him surviving a second year with stage 4 cancer was around seven percent but he continued to fight.
Jeopardy recently begun its 37th season and earlier in the pandemic, the show hosted a Greatest Of All-Time tournament, won by Ken Jennings.
The Canadian game show host first endeared himself to television audiences as a newscaster and hosting the show, Reach For The Top. In 1973, he came stateside, hosting an NBC show called The Wizard of Odds. Eventually, he landed on a revival of Jeopardy! in 1984, becoming a classic, soothing figure on television. The show became a cultural phenomenon, even parlaying into a major plot point for the 1992 film, White Men Can’t Jump.
He won 6 Daytime Emmy Awards, set a Guinness World Record in June 2014 for the most episodes hosted of a game show (6,829 and counting) and more. However, he never viewed himself as the star of the show, rather the players who won and the questions he asked.
Born in 1940, Trebek majored in philosophy at the University of Ottawa and became a naturalized citizen in 1998. He is survived by his wife, Jean and two children, Matthew and Emily.