By Hannah DiPilato
Alex Trebek, the face of “Jeopardy!” for many years, has passed away at 80 years old. He is known and loved by many for being the show’s host since 1984.
“Jeopardy! is saddened to share that Alex Trebek passed away peacefully at home early this morning, surrounded by family and friends,” the official Jeopardy account tweeted on Sunday morning. “Thank you, Alex.”
Trebek leaves behind his wife Jean and his children Emily, Matthew and Nicky. Trebek has been fighting stage four pancreatic cancer since March 2019.
Trebek shared this cancer diagnosis in a video to fans on March 6th. “Now normally the prognosis for this is not very encouraging, but I’m going to fight this and I’m going to keep working,” Trebek said while vowing to keep hosting the show.
Trebek hosted over 8,200 episodes of “Jeopardy!,” and shared answers through 37 seasons according to CNN. He accomplished many things throughout his 36 years as host, including five Daytime Emmy Awards. Similarly, he surpassed Bob Barker of “The Price is Right” for the person that has hosted the most games-show episodes. Trebek now holds this record in the Guinness Book of Records.
In 2018 Trebek hinted at retirement but signed a final contract extension that was set to end in 2022. “I’m just enjoying what I’m doing, I’m happy to have a job,” said Trebek in a 2014 interview with The Hollywood Reporter. “I like the show, I like the contestants and it pays well.” It was clear Trebek loved his job and the show.
“He loved that ‘Jeopardy!’ popularized intelligence and it was important for him,” said Mike Richards, the show’s executive producer to CNN. “I think he really became synonymous with the show, in that he really was that smart.”
Trebek “reveled in these intelligent people, in the contestants, in the writers,” Richards continued. “It’s just who he was — he craved knowledge and it showed.”
According to People, Trebek and Jean celebrated their 29th wedding anniversary in 2019 but agreed that almost thirty years married still wasn’t enough.
“I’m pretty satisfied with my life,” Trebek shared with People. “But my wife Jean and I have been together almost 29 years, and 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. I thought, oh my gosh … if I’d just met Jean in my 20s we could have had a longer life together.”
Jean added about her husband to People. “He takes his job very seriously, but won’t take himself too seriously,” said said. “He’s just an intelligent human being. Part of Alex’s staying youthful is his staying curious,” she continued.
Throughout his years on “Jeopardy!” Trebek battled many health complications. Besides battling cancer, he suffered from two heart attacks, a knee replacement, blood clots on his brain and a torn Achilles tendon according to People.
Trebek kept fighting until he passed away peacefully in his home. According to Sony Pictures episodes of “Jeopardy!” featuring Trebek will continue to air until December 25.