Jeopardy! Host Alex Trebek Dies at 80
Longtime Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek, who announced in March of 2019 that he had stage 4 pancreatic cancer, died on Sunday. He was 80.
The show confirmed the news with a post on Sunday.
"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 Twitter post reads.
In a taped message for his fans at the time, Trebek said the prognosis was "never very encouraging but I'm gonna fight this." " I’m gonna keep working. And with the love and support of my family and friends, and with the help of your prayers also, I plan to beat the low survival-rate statistics for this disease. Truth be told, I have to. Under the terms of my contract, I have to host Jeopardy! for three more years. So help me! Keep the faith, and we’ll win! We’ll get it done. Thank you.”
A career emcee, Trebek began hosting game shows in his native country of Canada. He moved the States in the '70s to emcee 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, Trebek earned a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Daytime Emmys. He's also won five Emmys for Outstanding Game Show host. In 2014, Guinness World Records announced that Trebek had broken the record for the most game show episodes (6,829) hosted by the same person on the same program.
As a tribute to Trebek's cucumber-cool demeanor, Saturday Night Live in 1996 began airing a series of sketches featuring Will Farrell in Trebek's role. The skits featured celebrity impersonators like Darrell Hammond playing Sean Connery and Norm Macdonald as the late Burt Reynolds. Like in real life, Farrell's Trebek acted like the smartest guy in the room. The last Celebrity Jeopardy! aired in 2015 to help celebrate SNL's 40th anniversary.
When asked about the SNL sketches in 2012, Trebek told THR that "Every taping, somebody in the audience says 'How do you feel about the Will Ferrell impression of you on SNL?' And I say the same thing every time: I love it. I wish he was back on the show so he would do more.'"
Shortly before his diagnosis, Trebek lamented to PEOPLE that he wished he had met his wife, Jean, a lot earlier. The two have been married for 29 years. "I was thinking about President Bush when he died, and all the comments about his life about what a nice guy he is, and how he and his wife had been together 73 years," he told PEOPLE. "I thought, oh my gosh… if I’d just met Jean in my 20s we could have had a longer life together. I guess if I’d met her when I was in my 20s she wouldn’t have been born yet. But hey, 29 years is pretty good!”
Trebek is survived by his wife and two children.
This story originally appeared on ew.com