We've Got Hollywood Covered
|

‘Jeopardy!’ Contestant Who Learned English From Show Pays Tribute to Alex Trebek

“I am overwhelmed with emotion right now and my heart goes out to the Trebek family,” Burt Thakur says

A “Jeopardy!” contestant who broke hearts on an episode just this week with his story of how the show changed his life is understandably broken up about the passing of Alex Trebek.

On Thursday’s episode, Navy veteran Burt Thakur won a tight game, taking home $20,400. After the episode finished taping, Thakur tearfully told Trebek how he watched “Jeopardy!” with his grandfather when he was a child, and in doing so learned how to speak English.

“My grandfather who raised me … I’m gonna get tears right now … I used to sit on his lap and watch you every day.” Thakur said. “It’s a pretty special moment. Thank you very much.”

After learning about the death of Trebek, Thakur tweeted a passage from the Rainer Maria Rilke poem “Death” and added, “I am overwhelmed with emotion right now and my heart goes out to the Trebek family.”

Since Thursday’s airing, the video of Thakur’s emotional moment has been viewed over 650,000 times on Twitter and has gone viral again as fans honor Trebek’s 37-year career as host of one of the most beloved game shows of all time.

Trebek first announced that he was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer last year, but vowed to continue hosting “Jeopardy!” for as long as he could. In January, Trebek and “Jeopardy!” made the leap from syndicated TV to primetime with “Jeopardy: The Greatest of All-Time,” a four-episode ABC series that saw the show’s biggest winners — Ken Jennings, Brad Rutter, and James Holzhauer — compete for $1 million. The series, which saw Jennings claim victory, earned a higher ratings average than the last two NBA Finals and World Series broadcasts.

Trebek was 80.