American TV personality Alex Trebek, who became a household name after hosting the insanely popular quiz show 'Jeopardy', passed away at the age of 80 on Sunday. His demise comes over a year after he was first diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer in March 2019.
The long-time television personality, who began his stint on the quiz game show in 1984, announced in March 2019 that he had been diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. He continued to shed light on his condition and update his fans as he underwent treatment. The late icon vowed to continue hosting and doing the job that he loves for as long as possible.
The show's official Twitter handle shared the news of his demise. "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 tweet read along with a picture of the late show host.
Trebek hosted 'Jeopardy!' for more than 8,200 episodes across 37 seasons. Throughout his stint as the host, he earned the respect and friendship of numerous stars, fellow TV hosts, show's contestants, and viewers. News of Trebek's demise prompted an outpouring of condolences across social media, where many celebrity friends took to Twitter to mourn the loss of the beloved show host.
Actor Ryan Reynolds shared that Trebek had recently filmed a scene in his upcoming movie 'Free Guy'. "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."
Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau spoke about the impact Trebek had after nearly three decades on TV. "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," he tweeted.
Ellen Degeneres tweeted, "Alex Trebek hosted Jeopardy for 36 years. What an incredible career and remarkable life. I'm sending love to his family and fans."
"Couldn't we have one nice weekend? A kind gentleman whose excellence was so consistent, it was easy to take for granted. Rest well, Mr. Trebek," the Jimmy Kimmel Live! host wrote.
American singer John Legend mourning the loss of the late icon tweeted, "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."
Ken Jennings, the recently crowned greatest Jeopardy! contestant of all time, shared a selfie of him with the host on set and wrote "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."
During his decades-long career, Trebek began hosting game shows in his native country of Canada. He moved to the United States in the '70s to emcee the insanely popular 'The Wizard of Odds and High Rollers' for NBC, as well as 'Double Dare and Pillsbury Bake-Off' for CBS. He joined 'Jeopardy!' in 1984, but continued holding the mic for shows like 'The National Geographic Bee' from 1989-2013 and 'To Tell the Truth' from 1990-91.
In 2011, the beloved host earned a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Daytime Emmys. He has also won seven Emmys for Outstanding Game Show host. In 2014, Guinness World Records announced that the late icon had broken the record for the most game show episodes (6,829) hosted by the same person on the same program, reported Entertainment Weekly.
As a tribute to Trebek's dapper charm and a touch of schoolmaster strictness, Saturday Night Live (SNL) in 1996 began airing a series of sketches featuring actor Will Farrell in Trebek's role. The skits starred celebrity impersonators like Darrell Hammond playing Sean Connery and Norm Macdonald as the late Burt Reynolds. The last 'Celebrity Jeopardy!' aired in 2015 to celebrate SNL's 40th anniversary.
Before his demise, Trebek continued to host the 37th season amid the coronavirus pandemic. The host is survived by his wife Jean, and their two children, Matthew and Emily. Trebek was also close to his first wife's daughter, Nicky. He married Elaine Callei in 1974 and they parted ways in 1981.