Alex Trebek, the unshakeable and whip-smart host of US trivia game show Jeopardy!, has died of pancreatic cancer. He was 80 years old.
The New York Times reports Trebek, who hosted the show for a monumental 36 years, died on Sunday, with his passing confirmed by the show’s producers.
He is survived by his wife, Jean, and three children.
After his hosting debut on the show in 1984, Trebek became known locally and abroad as a consistently sharp, fair, and engaging presence on television.
Fans were drawn to his calm authority on all things trivia, but also took great pleasure in what can only be described as his laser-guided burns.
Contestants loved him, too. Legends of the show, including James Holzhauer and Ken Jennings, have voiced their appreciation for a man who helped define the modern game-show format.
“Alex was so much more than a host,” Holzhauer said. “He was an impartial arbiter of truth and facts in a world that needs exactly that.”
Alex was so much more than a host. He was an impartial arbiter of truth and facts in a world that needs exactly that. He was someone you could count on to entertain you every weekday, even when his health barely allowed it. And he was an underrated rapper: pic.twitter.com/ybvp7RlvjH
— James Holzhauer (@James_Holzhauer) November 8, 2020
“Thinking today about his family and his Jeopardy! family,” Jennings said, “which, in a way, included millions of us.”
Alex wasn’t just the best ever at what he did. He was also a lovely and deeply decent man, and I’m grateful for every minute I got to spend with him. pic.twitter.com/CdHCcbqmp2
— Ken Jennings (@KenJennings) November 8, 2020
The news comes eighteen months after Trebek publicly confirmed his diagnosis, using a clear, concise, and reassuring video from the Jeopardy! set to inform his devoted fans.
In the video, Trebek pledged to fight the disease, drolly adding that, “under the terms of my contract, I have to host Jeopardy! for three more years.”
Not only did he stay on the job through his cancer treatment, the NYT states Trebek filmed enough episodes of the show for it to run on US television through to Christmas this year.
Jeopardy! airs in Australia on SBS Viceland.