Beloved Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek has passed away peacefully in his home early this morning after a prolonged battle with pancreatic cancer.
Legendary Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek has passed away this morning at the age of 80. This comes after a prolonged battle against pancreatic cancer. Trebek was born in Ontario, Canada on July 22nd, 1940. He moved to the United States in 1973 to host a new NBC game show called The Wizard of Odds. His electric personality as a host and guest led him to several other short-lived game shows, including High Rollers.
In 1984, Trebek shot for a revival pilot of Jeopardy! after the previous host, Art Fleming, refused to return. The revival sold, and Trebek began his tenure as the host of Jeopardy!, which he would maintain until his death. Over the 36 years he hosted the show, Trebek raised the bar for game show hosts, rocketing from lovable TV staple to cultural icon. Aside from guest-starring as himself across the TV world, Trebek was the subject of Will Ferrell's parody in Saturday Night Live's infamous "Celebrity Jeopardy!" sketches. His jovial demeanor and natural charm helped elevate Jeopardy! to the pinnacle of game show television.
The Jeopardy! Twitter account made public this morning that Alex Trebek passed peacefully at home early this morning, surrounded by his loved ones. Generally not fond of the idea of retirement, Trebek had only just restarted filming for season 37 of Jeopardy!, hoping to extend his Guinness World Record for most game show episodes hosted. The cause of death wasn't listed, but the news does come at the end of a long battle Trebek had with pancreatic cancer.
Trebek had suffered a minor heart attack in 2007, which cause complications in 2017 after a fall in his home. Then, in 2019, Trebek announced publicly that he had been diagnosed with stage IV pancreatic cancer, but that he would fight it with everything he had. In an update after a year of fighting (through which his survival chances had only been 18%), Trebek announced they would continue to make episodes of Jeopardy! without a studio audience. Fears that Trebek, who was severely immunocompromised, could contract COVID-19 from anyone in the audience led the production crew to decide to stop filming again. They had just restarted in August.
In July, Trebek announced that he believed his chemotherapy was paying off, though he still felt fatigued, and published his memoir, titled The Answer Is...: Reflections on My Life. Though his death is a tragedy and leaves a massive hole in the game show world, Trebek was blessed enough to pass peacefully with his family. He is survived by his wife, Jean Currivan-Trebek, and his three children, Nicky, Matthew, and Emily. Trebek is a true legend of television history, a winner of seven Emmys, a Peabody Award, and even an Americanism Award from the Daughters of the American Revolution, as he is a naturalized American despite being born and raised in Canada. He is irreplaceable as a host, and will be missed as a loving and charming man.
R.I.P. Alex Trebek: July 22, 1940-November 8, 2020