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Jeopardy! Host Alex Trebek Dies After Stage 4 Pancreatic Cancer Diagnosis
Alex Trebek was diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer in March 2019
"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.”
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/CdHCcbqmp2
— Ken Jennings (@KenJennings) November 8, 2020
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. https://t.co/LLoUASRMa9
— James Holzhauer (@James_Holzhauer) November 8, 2020
I think we're all better, and I know I'm better, for having known this man. https://t.co/gFmRzfpyDO
— Ben Ingram (@julysixteenth) November 8, 2020
Being a player on @Jeopardy was thrilling and terrifying. Alex Trebek made that day truly memorable with his kindness, good humor and infectious love of the trivia game with all its intricacies. Saddened to learn of his passing. Rest well Mr. Trebek. pic.twitter.com/6UNJEDemYC
— Kelly O'Donnell (@KellyO) November 8, 2020
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.”
Alex Trebek was kind enough to film a cameo for our film Free Guy last year despite his battle. He was gracious and funny. In addition to being curious, stalwart, generous, reassuring and of course, Canadian. We love you, Alex. And always will.
— Ryan Reynolds (@VancityReynolds) November 8, 2020
This is a sad day. #AlexTrebek brought decades of joy and knowledge into millions of people’s lives. He faced this last difficult chapter of his remarkable life with tremendous courage and grace, and he gave strength to so many people facing challenges of their own. I began watching @Jeopardy! in high school and getting to compete on the show several times, and meet Alex, was a dream come true, even when @cheechmarin crushed me. Thank you Alex for the decades of dedication, and i hope your family finds some comfort in knowing how deeply you were loved and admired by all of us.
A post shared by andersoncooper (@andersoncooper) on Nov 8, 2020 at 10:55am PST
We have lost an icon. Almost every night for more than three decades, Alex Trebek entertained and educated millions around the world, instilling in so many of us a love for trivia. My deepest condolences to his family, friends, and all who are mourning this tremendous loss. pic.twitter.com/XoobAfJwBv
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) November 8, 2020
I was obsessed with Jeopardy as a nerdy kid growing up in Ohio. I’ve loved and revered Alex Trebek since I can remember. What an iconic career. RIP Alex Trebek.
— John Legend (@johnlegend) November 8, 2020
RIP Alex Trebek. A true, true gentleman and courageous hero. May flights of angels sing thee to thy rest 💛 pic.twitter.com/autbyxnlcs
— Viola Davis (@violadavis) November 8, 2020
The answer is..... THANK YOU! Alex Trebek. You were grace and guts and humor and deep love.
— Jamie Lee Curtis (@jamieleecurtis) November 8, 2020
Very sorry to hear the news about Alex Trebek. Condolences to his family. 😞
— William Shatner (@WilliamShatner) November 8, 2020
Awww man, this is really sad news. So brave in his fight. A true legend. What is, RIP Alex. https://t.co/FxLyvl3EX5
— Larry Wilmore (@larrywilmore) November 8, 2020
So saddened to hear Alex Trebek has died. It was an honor to share the dinner hour with him. He fought his cancer battle valiantly.
— David Muir (@DavidMuir) November 8, 2020
We are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Alex Trebek, a true Canadian icon. His contribution to the industry is immeasurable and he will be missed. Our sincere condolences go out to his loved ones during this time. pic.twitter.com/gR8UrpJ9pj
— The Canadian Academy (@TheCdnAcademy) November 8, 2020
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.”
Alex's impact is immeasurable. Thank you for sharing, Burt! pic.twitter.com/XgGGwJ8GlH
— Jeopardy! (@Jeopardy) November 6, 2020
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.