It’s a sad day for game show fans everywhere as Alex Trebek, beloved host of Jeopardy!, has passed away. As first reported by TMZ, Trebek lost his long battle with Stage 4 Pancreatic Cancer on Sunday. He announced his diagnosis last March and, despite beginning chemotherapy, continued to host the iconic TV show. He was 80 years old. According to a spokesperson for the show, he passed peacefully in his home surrounded by friends and family. Mike Richards, an executive producer for Jeopardy!, had this to say:
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.”
Following his diagnosis, Trebek refused to retire. And after a year of fighting, he gave insight as to why in a video update. He stated that giving up would be a betrayal of his wife Jean and to “other cancer patients who have looked to me as an inspiration and a cheerleader of sorts.” Although the survival rate for this stage of the disease is only 7% in the second year, Trebek never gave into hopelessness.
Jeopardy! first ran on NBC from 1964 to 1979 with host Art Fleming. When the show received a revival in 1984, Trebek took on hosting duties and has held them for over three decades. Trebek has won 6 Daytime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Game Show Host over his lengthy career. He also set a Guinness World Record in 2014 for most episodes of a game show hosted at 6,829 episodes.
Alex Trebek’s last day taping in the Jeopardy! studio was October 29th. Episodes with him as host are planned to air through December 25th. Additionally, producers on the show have stated they are not announcing a new host right now. Whoever it turns out to be, they’ll undoubtedly have big shoes to fill.