Alex Trebek, host of Jeopardy! passed away peacefully at home early this morning, surrounded by family and friends, according to the show. He was 80 years old.
Alex was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in March 2019, and he continued to host Jeopardy! for the next 18 months. Throughout that time, Alex was open and public about his battle with cancer. Jeopardy! episodes hosted by Alex will air through December 25, 2020 (his last day in the studio was October 29). The show is not announcing plans for a new host at this time.
Born in Sudbury, Ontario, Alex hosted dozens of game shows before becoming the host of Jeopardy! in its syndicated debut in 1984. He hosted more than 8,200 Jeopardy! episodes over the course of nearly 37 seasons, setting a Guinness World Record for hosting the most episodes of a single game show. Alex won the Daytime Emmy® Award for Outstanding Game Show Host seven times and was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. He received the Order of Canada honor from his native land in 2017. (Here at The Jeopardy! Fan, I had the pleasure of meeting Alex Trebek at my final audition for the show, two days before he accepted the award.)
“This is an enormous loss for the Jeopardy! staff, crew, and all of Alex’s millions of fans. He was a legend of the industry that we were all lucky to watch night after night for 37 years. 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,” said Mike Richards, Jeopardy! Executive Producer.
Alex is survived by his wife of 30 years, Jean, and children Matthew, Emily, and Nicky. The family has announced no plans for a service, but gifts in Alex’s memory could go to World Vision, according to the show.
A graduate of the University of Ottawa, Trebek’s career began in Canada, at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, in the early 1960s. He then famously hosted Reach for the Top as well as curling coverage in Canada before heading to the United States. His American game show hosting career included The Wizard of Odds, High Rollers, the 1970s CBS version of Double Dare, The $128,000 Question, Pitfall, Battlestars, Classic Concentration, and the 1990-91 version of To Tell the Truth.
The Jeopardy! Fan raised and donated $648.11 to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network in 2019 and 2020 through the sale of shirts.