The world is paying tribute to Alex Trebek this morning. The iconic Jeopardy! host and philanthropist passed away peacefully at his home in California this morning at the age of 80. Trebek announced in March 2019 that he had been diagnosed with stage IV pancreatic cancer, noting that he would still continue to host Jeopardy! for as long as he was physically able to do so. He was able to keep up his work on the show while taking on chemotherapy that left him physically drained and, at times, depressed.
Actor, and fellow Canadian, Ryan Reynolds posted a tribute to Alex Trebek on social media. “Alex Trebek was kind enough to film a cameo for our film Free Guy last year despite his battle. He was gracious and funny. In addition to being curious, stalwart, generous, reassuring and of course, Canadian. We love you, Alex. And always will,” said Reynolds. The official Twitter account for Jeopardy! tweeted, “Jeopardy! is saddened to share that Alex Trebek passed away peacefully at home early this morning, surrounded by family and friends. Thank you, Alex.”
Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello also paid tribute to Alex Trebek this morning. “Rest In Peace, Alex Trebek. A brilliant educator and fixture of our lives for decades he made everyone who watched Jeopardy happier and smarter. Thank you,” said Morello. Fans of Trebek and the show have also been flooding social media with tributes, with many noting that the host was more like a member of the family than some talking head on the television. Trebek hosted Jeopardy from 1984 to the present, and rarely took time off, even when his health was declining.
Alex Trebek continued shooting new Jeopardy! episodes over the summer, which are now airing. Last week, Trebek received a touching tribute from contestant Burt Thakur. During the episode, Trebek asked Thakur, who is from India, “Any family members back home cheering you on?” Thakur responded, “You know, here’s a true story. I learned English because of you… My grandfather who raised me, I’m gonna get tears right now. I used to sit on his lap and watch you every day… It’s a pretty special moment. Thank you very much.” Trebek was moved by the champion’s words, as have been the millions of viewers who have seen the footage online.
In October 2019, Alex Trebek spoke about his health. He stated, “I’m not afraid of dying,” and “I’ve lived a good life, a full life, and I’m nearing the end of that life … if it happens, why should I be afraid [of] that?” Trebek was strong until the very end, though he was realistic when it came to the future of his hosting duties, noting that he would not be the one to choose his replacement. Jeopardy! will likely go on, but it will never be the same without Alex Trebek. TMZ was the first to announce that Trebek had passed away.