Nov. 8, 2020 — Alex Trebek, the long-running host of the game show Jeopardy! whose sharp wit, dry humor, and celebration of the intellect made him one of television’s most beloved icons, has died. The cause was pancreatic cancer, according to a statement from the official Jeopardy! Twitter feed.
“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.
Trebek, 80, was the host of Jeopardy! since its debut in 1984, and he appeared in nearly 8,000 episodes. The show, in which facts are revealed and contestants provide the matching question, phrased in a specific way, became a cultural touchstone.
Trebek’s popularity and longevity on daytime television was unparalleled. In 2014, he was awarded a Guinness World Record for most game shows hosted by the same presenter. In addition, he won five Daytime Emmys for Outstanding Game Host, a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, and in 2011, a Peabody Award for “encouraging, celebrating and rewarding knowledge.”
Trebek and Jeopardy! were parodied on Saturday Night Live and many other shows and he appeared as himself in more than 70 movies and television episodes, including The Simpsons, Short Cuts, and Charlie’s Angels. He has a star on both the Hollywood Walk of Fame and the Canadian Walk of Fame.
“Just like 50,000 other people in the United States each year, this week I was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer,” he said. He noted that the prognosis was not very encouraging, but that he was going to fight it. He ended the announcement with his characteristic humor. “Truth told, I have to, because under the terms of my contract I have to host Jeopardy! for three more years,” he said.
The announcement was met with an outpouring of love and support from fans around the world. Trebek followed up with an announcement on the show’s Twitter account thanking fans for their kind words, prayers, and advice. “I am extremely touched by the warmth you have expressed in your comments to me,” he said. “I’m a lucky guy.”