Longtime “Jeopardy!” host Alex Trebek, adored by generations of trivia mavens who instinctively shout out questions to answers, died on Sunday following his battle with cancer.
The official “Jeopardy!” Twitter account confirmed the news. He was 80.
Trebek stunned fans of the high-minded game show last year, announcing he had been diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer.
Trebek said in a video posted to YouTube he would try to finish out this season of “Jeopardy!” despite being diagnosed with the terrible disease that inflicts 56,700 Americans each year.
Days after the announcement, Trebek addressed “Jeopardy!” fans again, telling them he was overwhelmed by the support he had received.
“Hi everyone, I just want to take a few moments to say thanks to the — believe it or not — hundreds of thousands of people who have sent in tweets, texts, emails, cards, and letters wishing me well following my recent health announcement,” Trebek said.
“Now obviously, I won’t be able to respond to all of you individually but I did want you to know that I do read everything I receive and I am thankful for the kind words, the prayers, and the advice you have offered, and I’m extremely touched by the warmth you have expressed in your comments to me.”
The iconic game show host added: “I’m a lucky guy.”
Trebek would give updates to fans about his treatment, offering his audience good news through periodic video updates posted to the “Jeopardy!” social media accounts. But in a New York Times interview in July ahead of his memoir’s release, Trebek was candid about the toll the disease took on him.
The game show host told the Times that if his course of treatment at the time didn’t work, he planned on stopping treatment altogether.
“Yesterday morning my wife came to me and said, ‘How are you feeling?’ And I said, ‘I feel like I want to die.’ It was that bad,” he told The New York Times. “There comes a time where you have to make a decision as to whether you want to continue with such a low quality of life, or whether you want to just ease yourself into the next level. It doesn’t bother me in the least.”
Just days earlier, he told fans that his treatment was going well and that he was hopeful they would soon be able to film new episodes of “Jeopardy!” in a studio again. Trebek said his “numbers are good” and that he was feeling great.
Trebek had been the face of “Jeopardy!” since 1984. In October 2018, Trebek renewed his contract with Sony Pictures Television to continue as host of the quiz show through 2022.
He’s best known for his calm demeanor on the show and gentle-yet-cutting manner in which he tells contestants they’ve answered incorrectly.
Trebek regularly tells players, “No, I’m sorry. We were looking for … ” or will pick out one small syllable of mispronunciation that will render a question incorrect, making the difference of plus or minus $200 to $2,000.
Trebek has won five daytime Emmy Awards and was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences in 2011.