Alex Trebek, who hosted game show Jeopardy! for 37 years, has died. He was 80.
Trebek announced in March 2019 that he was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. He continued to host Jeopardy! throughout treatment and was in the studio until Oct. 29. Episodes hosted by Trebek will air through Dec. 25, 2020.
"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," said Mike Richards, Jeopardy! executive producer. "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."
At the time of his diagnosis Trebek said in a video, “Now, normally the prognosis for this is not very encouraging, but I’m going to fight this and I’m going to keep working and with the love and support from my family and friends and with the help of your prayers also, I plan to beat the low survival rate statistics for this disease."
Jeopardy! is produced by Sony Pictures Television and distributed by CBS Television Distribution. Trebek hosted the show since its syndicated debut in 1984, hosting more than 8,200 episodes over the course of 37 seasons.
Born in Ontario, Canada, Trebek got his start in broadcasting in the 1960s at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, taking an announcing job to earn extra money for college. He continued to work for CBS until the 1970s when he moved to the U.S. to host the game show Wizard of Odds.
Over the course of his Jeopardy! career, Trebek received seven Emmy Awards for Outstanding Game Show Host and was honored in 2011 with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Daytime Emmys. He was inducted into the Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame in 2013.
Trebek is survived by his wife Jean and children Matthew, Emily and Nicky.
Jeopardy! champion Ken Jennings tweeted:
Alex wasn’t just the best ever at what he did. He was also a lovely and deeply decent man, and I’m grateful for every minute I got to spend with him. pic.twitter.com/CdHCcbqmp2November 8, 2020
Walt Disney Company Executive Chairman Robert A. Iger said in a statement: “Today we mourn the loss of Alex Trebek. A friend, a colleague, an icon…He graced us with his kindness, warmth, wit and pure elegance, which is why we welcomed him into our homes night after night, year after year. He also showed us what courage looks like as he battled cancer with dignity and determination. We are deeply saddened for his wife Jean, his family, and millions of Jeopardy fans.”
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