Jeopardy! Stars Ken Jennings, James Holzhauer and More Mourn the Death of Alex Trebek

Maria Pasquini
·6 min read
Jeopardy! Stars Ken Jennings, James Holzhauer and More Mourn the Death of Alex Trebek
Jeopardy! Stars Ken Jennings, James Holzhauer and More Mourn the Death of Alex Trebek

Jeopardy! Host Alex Trebek Dies After Stage 4 Pancreatic Cancer Diagnosis

Alex Trebek was diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer in March 2019

Celebrities and members of the Jeopardy! family are mourning the death of host Alex Trebek, who died at the age of 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 announced on Sunday.

Trebek's death comes over a year after he was first diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer in March 2019.

Ken Jennings, the 74-time champion who recently joined the show as a consulting producer, remembered Trebek as “a lovely and decent man.”

“Alex wasn’t just the best ever at what he did. He was also a lovely and deeply decent man,” he wrote in a touching tribute. “I’m grateful for every minute I got to spend with him.”

In a statement to PEOPLE, fellow champion James Holzhauer said, "Alex Trebek was a legend of American television who will never be forgotten or truly replaced. His courageous fight against cancer was an inspiration to all, and his charitable work touched countless lives. In a time where the country feels deeply divided, Alex will be missed by everyone."

On Twitter, Holzhauer added: “It was one of the great privileges of my life to spend time with this courageous man while he fought the battle of his life. You will never be replaced in our hearts, Alex.”

“Just gutted. There will never be another,” wrote fellow alum, Brad Rutter. “RIP, Alex, and thank you so much for everything.”

RELATED: Jeopardy! Host Alex Trebek Dies After Stage 4 Pancreatic Cancer Diagnosis

In her own tribute, actress Jamie Lee Curtis wrote, “The answer is..... THANK YOU! Alex Trebek. You were grace and guts and humor and deep love."

In another nod to the show, comedian Larry Wilmore wrote, “Awww man, this is really sad news. So brave in his fight. A true legend. What is, RIP Alex.”

In a fitting nod to Trebek’s lasting legacy, just days before his death, Jeopardy highlighted an emotional moment during a recent episode, which aired on Thursday.

After being named the new champion, contestant Burt Thakur teared up as he thanked the longtime host for playing such a huge role in his life over the years. “You know, here’s a true story. I learned English because of you,” he said. “My grandfather who raised me, I’m gonna get tears right now. I used to sit on his lap and watch you every day.”

“It’s a pretty special moment. Thank you very much,” he added.

After learning of Trebek’s death, Thakur wrote on social media, “I am overwhelmed with emotion right now and my heart goes out to the Trebek family.”

In a somber video message to fans last March, the ABC game show host vowed to “fight” the disease and also continue working on the game show, which he hosted for 35 years. “I’m going to fight this and I’m going to keep working,” he said at the time.

By the end of August, Trebek had completed his chemotherapy treatments and announced in a video that he was “on the mend” — although the following month he announced that had to undergo chemotherapy again.

He continued to host Jeopardy, which returned for its 37th season in September, until his death.

Trebek is survived by his wife Jean and their two children: son Matthew and daughter Emily. He also has an older daughter Nicky, whom he adopted when he was married to Nicky’s mother, his first wife Elaine Callei.