Alex Trebek announced in March of 2019 that he had been diagnosed with stage IV pancreatic cancer. The beloved Jeopardy! host was open and honest about his disease as he continued to run the show for another 18 months, until October 29th, 2020, when cancer forced him to retire.
Then, on the morning of Sunday, November 8th, 2020, Trebek succumbed to his illness and passed away peacefully at his family home, surrounded by his loved ones.
“This is an enormous loss for the Jeopardy! staff, crew and all of Alex’s millions of fans,” says Mike Richards, Jeopardy! Executive Producer. “He was a legend of the industry that we were all lucky to watch night after night for 37 years. 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.”
Trebek has hosted Jeopardy! since its debut in 1984—all 8,200-plus episodes and 37 seasons of it. He held a Guinness World Record for hosting the most episodes of a single game show.
Trebek also won the Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Game Show Host seven times and was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.
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“Today we lost a legend and a beloved member of the Sony Pictures family,” says Tony Vinciquerra, Chairman and CEO of Sony Pictures Entertainment. “For 37 amazing years, Alex was that comforting voice, that moment of escape and entertainment at the end of a long, hard day for millions of people around the world. He was the heart and soul of Jeopardy! and he will be deeply missed by everyone who made him part of their lives. Our hearts go out to Jean, Matthew, Emily, and Nicky.”
Kenichiro Yoshida, Chairman, President and CEO, Sony Corporation, echoes the sentiment: “We join our colleagues at Sony Pictures in mourning the passing of Alex Trebek. Alex was an extraordinary talent whose intelligence, wit, and comforting presence appealed to millions of people around the world and made Jeopardy! the outstanding show it is today.”
So far, Jeopardy! has not announced any plans for hiring a new host for the show. Episodes hosted by Trebek will continue to run until December 25th, 2020.
“The death of Alex Trebek is a tremendous loss for his family, his friends, his co-workers and the millions of viewers who followed his long and illustrious career,” says Pat Sajak, the host of Wheel of Fortune. “It was an honor for me to be a part of his professional family for nearly 40 years. His strength and courage and grace during his recent health struggles inspired countless others. Alex was truly one of a kind.”
Vanna White, another star of Wheel of Fortune, adds, “I will cherish the many memories I have shared with Alex Trebek that date back well before either of our careers took off. I will always be in awe of the way he faced the battle he fought so valiantly and I’m devastated to lose my longtime friend. My heart is with his family, friends, co-workers and fans. There will never be another Alex Trebek and he will truly be missed.”
Trebek is survived by his wife of 37 years, Jean, and his children, Matthew, Emily, and Nicky. Trebek’s family has not released any information about a service for him, but they are asking anyone who wishes to make a donation in Trebek’s honor to send it to World Vision.
Elizabeth Nelson is a wordsmith, an alumna of Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, a four-leaf-clover finder, and a grammar connoisseur. She has lived in west Michigan since age four but loves to travel to new (and old) places. In her free time, she. . . wait, what’s free time?