Alex Trebek, longtime “Jeopardy!” host and TV personality, has died after battling pancreatic cancer, a show spokesperson has confirmed. He was 80.
“Jeopardy! is saddened to share that Alex Trebek passed away peacefully at home early this morning, surrounded by family and friends. Thank you, Alex,” the show’s official website announced Sunday.
“Jeopardy!” episodes hosted by Trebek will air through Dec. 25, 2020 (his last day in the studio was Oct. 29). The show is not announcing plans for a new host at this time.
Trebek revealed in March 2019 that he had been diagnosed with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer, but vowed to battle the disease. The news of his diagnosis came just months after Trebek renewed his contract with Sony Pictures Television to stay on as host of “Jeopardy!” through 2022. After undergoing treatment, Trebek announced in May that he was in “near remission.”
He returned to hosting “Jeopardy!” that August, but announced in September that he was undergoing chemotherapy again after revealing that he lost a large amount of weight and his “numbers went sky high.”
In October, he vowed to keep hosting the show “as long as my skills do not diminish” but also admitted that he was “nearing the end of that life.” In November, he filmed a global public service announcement for World Pancreatic Day, saying, “I wish I had known sooner that the persistent stomach pain that I experienced prior to my diagnosis was a symptom of pancreatic cancer.”
In July 2020, just before his 80th birthday, Trebek said he was undergoing experimental treatments but would not continue seeking treatment if the current round failed. He also published a memoir, “The Answer Is …: Reflections on My Life,” and donated proceeds to charity.
Alex Trebek served as host of the syndicated trivia game show since its revival in 1984. He previously took time off from the show in late 2017 after undergoing surgery to remove blood clots from his brain but was back on the program within weeks.
The Canada-born Trebek began his broadcasting career on the CBC while still in school and went on to read the national news while covering special events from curling to horse racing.
He went on to host Canadian shows “Music Hop,” “Reach for the Top” and “Strategy,” before moving to the U.S. in 1973 to host NBC show “The Wizard of Odds.”
Trebek’s resume of game shows and entertainment gigs quickly added up, with stints hosting CBS’ “Double Dare,” “The $128,000 Question,” “High Rollers,” “Battlestar” and “Classic Concentration.”
But it was his work hosting the revival of “Jeopardy!” that made Trebek a household name and landed him guest appearances on “How I Met Your Mother” and “Hot in Cleveland.”
Among Trebek’s many honors, he was awarded seven Outstanding Game Show Host Emmys as well as a Life Achievement Award; a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame; a Royal Canadian Geographical Society’s Gold Medal; and honorary degree of Doctor of the University (D.Univ) from the University of Ottawa; an honorary doctorate from Fordham University; and named an Officer of the Order of Canada. In addition, he holds a Guinness World Record for “the most gameshow episodes hosted by the same presenter (same program)” for having hosted over 8,200 episodes of “Jeopardy!”
Alex Trebek, who became a naturalized citizen of the United States in 1998, is survived by his wife, Jean Currivan, and their two children, Matthew and Emily.