Alex Trebek: Jeopardy! game show host dies with cancer aged 80

·3 min read
Alex Trebek
Alex Trebek, who had hosted Jeopardy! since 1984, had been undergoing treatment for pancreatic cancer

Alex Trebek, the long-time host of American television quiz show Jeopardy!, has died at the age of 80.

Mr Trebek announced he had been diagnosed with stage-four pancreatic cancer in March 2019.

The Jeopardy! Twitter account said on Sunday he had "passed away peacefully at home" surrounded by family and friends.

Mr Trebek had hosted Jeopardy! since 1984, and had received numerous awards and honours for his work.

Producer of Jeopardy!, Sony Pictures, led tributes to the "legend", writing in a statement: "For 37 amazing years, Alex Trebek 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."

Known for his sharp wit and charisma, the Canadian-American presenter became the face of Jeopardy! during his three decades on the show, turning it into a ratings smash hit.

He fronted more than 8,200 episodes of the popular quiz show, making him among the most well-known people on television in the US and Canada.

In 2014 he set a Guinness World Record for "most game show episodes hosted by the same presenter".

Mr Trebek had vowed to continue presenting Jeopardy! while receiving treatment including chemotherapy. He was contracted to host the show until 2022.

In a typically light-hearted tone, the presenter said in a video statement he had no choice but to beat the cancer because of his contractual obligations.

He was candid about his medical treatment, regularly updating fans on his condition.

"I am optimistic about my current plan, and thank them for their concerns," Mr Trebek said in a statement released by Jeopardy! In July.

Mr Trebek is survived by his second wife, Jean, and his children Matthew, Emily and Nicky.

Alex Trebek, winner of the Outstanding Game Show Host award
Mr Trebek won an Outstanding Game Show Host Emmy award in 2019

Former Jeopardy! contestant Buzzy Cohen was among the first to pay tribute to the presenter.

"Absolutely heartbreaking to lose someone who meant so much to so many. Even if this show hadn't changed my life in so many ways, this loss would be immeasurable," Mr Cohen tweeted.

In another tweeted tribute, Jeopardy! champion Ken Jennings said Mr Trebek was a "deeply decent man" as well as being "the best ever at what he did".

"I'm grateful for every minute I got to spend with him," Mr Jennings tweeted. "Thinking today about his family and his Jeopardy! family — which, in a way, included millions of us."

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also praised Mr Trebek, whom he described as "a proud Canadian and beloved TV star who was a familiar face to millions of people across North America and around the world".

Nancy Sinatra tweeted: "Part of our lives for decades, he taught us about so many things and now Alex Trebek has gone from us. Sending love to his family and friends. We will miss you, sir. Godspeed."

Actor Ryan Reynolds, a fellow Canadian, said he had enjoyed working with Trebek on a film in 2019.

"Alex Trebek was kind enough to film a cameo for our film Free Guy last year despite his battle," Reynolds tweeted. "He was gracious and funny. In addition to being curious, stalwart, generous, reassuring and of course, Canadian. We love you, Alex. And always will."

US TV presenter Steve Harvey said his "heart was so sad" about Trebek's death, while Dr Phil said: "Television has lost a true treasure and icon."