Longtime Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek has passed away at the age of 80 after a nearly two-year battle with pancreatic cancer.
In a somber video message to fans shared March 6, the ABC game show host vowed to “fight” the disease and also continue working on the game show, which he hosted for 35 years. “Now normally the prognosis for this is not very encouraging, but I’m going to fight this and I’m going to keep working,” he said.
He also asked his fans to lift up prayers on his behalf. “And with the love and support of my family and friends, and with the help of your prayers also, I plan to beat the low survival rate statistics for this disease,” continued Trebek, who also quipped that he must continue working because of the terms of his contract through the 2021-22 season.
By the end of August, Trebek had completed his chemotherapy treatments, and announced in a video that he was “on the mend.”
“I’ve gone through a lot of chemotherapy, and thankfully that is now over,” he said. “I’m on the mend and that’s all I can hope for right now.”
Sadly, he announced in September 2019 that he had to undergo chemotherapy again.
Since he joined Jeopardy! in 1984, Trebek hosted over 8,000 episodes of the venerable game show.
Along the way, Trebek’s work was recognized with several accolades including 8 Daytime Emmy Awards as well as a star on The Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1999.
But it was the viewers and players who held Trebek in perhaps the highest regard.
In November of 2019, I wrote about a moment on the show when a contestant realized he couldn’t win the episode, he decided to use his final Jeopardy! answer to send a message of love to the beloved host.
Contestant Dhruv Gaur wrote “We love you, Alex” after being stumped on the answer.
The hashtag #WeLoveYouAlex soon began trending on Twitter.
I was not ready for this touching moment on today’s @Jeopardy episode when a player sent a touching message. Hearing Alex Trebek’s unshakeable voice break got me. #weloveyoualex pic.twitter.com/GDsqdm0Qqm
— The Randy Report (@randyslovacek) November 12, 2019
I’m just very grateful I got the opportunity to say what I know everyone was thinking. Sending all the love. #weloveyoualex
— dhruv (@dhruvg_) November 12, 2019
In 2014, the easy-going Canadian-born host penned an essay for Salon Magazine expressing his support for the LGBTQ community: “I’m in favor of equal pay for women, and the Lilly Ledbetter act. I believe in equal rights for the LGBT community; in fact, this winter, I braved the Minnesota winter weather to attend a gay wedding (which was officiated over by my wife).”
Rest in peace Alex Trebek.
Jeopardy! is saddened to share that Alex Trebek passed away peacefully at home early this morning, surrounded by family and friends. Thank you, Alex. pic.twitter.com/Yk2a90CHIM
— Jeopardy! (@Jeopardy) November 8, 2020