Alex Trebek (The Wizard of Odds, Tell the Truth), longtime host of ABC quiz game show Jeopardy!, has died, according to Deadline. Trebek had been battling pancreatic cancer for the past year and a half, making his diagnosis public in March of 2019. He leaves to cherish his memory Jean, his wife of 30 years, and children Matthew, Emily, and Nicky.
“Today we lost a legend and a beloved member of the Sony Pictures family,” said Tony Vinciquerra, Chairman and CEO of Sony Pictures Entertainment, according to Deadline. “For 37 amazing years, Alex was that comforting voice, that moment of escape and entertainment at the end of a long, hard day for millions of people around the world. He was the heart and soul of Jeopardy! and he will be deeply missed by everyone who made him part of their lives. Our hearts go out to Jean, Matthew, Emily, and Nicky,” Vinciquerra said via Deadline.
The Sudbury, Ontario native was born in 1940, according to Deadline. Becoming an American citizen in 1998, Trebek hosted several quiz game shows prior to the revival of Jeopardy! in 1984. The shows included Double Dare, High Rollers, Battlestars, and Classic Concentration. As the face of Jeopardy, Trebek sequestered answers for 8200-plus episodes, setting a Guinness World Record for hosting the most episodes of a single game show. He also garnered seven Daytime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Game Show Host. In 2017, he was awarded the Order of Canada honor.
“This is an enormous loss for the Jeopardy! staff, crew, and all of Alex’s millions of fans,” said Jeopardy! executive producer Mike Richards via Deadline. “He was a legend of the industry that we were all lucky to watch night after night for 37 years. 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. His constant desire to learn, his kindness, and his professionalism will be with all of us forever,” Richards said via Deadline.
Despite his stage 4 diagnosis, Trebek continued taping episodes and making media appearances, according to Deadline. With his contract good through 2022, Trebek hosted this year’s “Greatest of All-Time” tournament which saw returning champion and rumored host successor, Ken Jennings take the victory. Trebek’s final studio taping was on October 29. New episodes will air through December 25.
“We join our colleagues at Sony Pictures in mourning the passing of Alex Trebek,” Kenichiro Yoshida, Chairman, President and CEO, Sony Corporation said via Deadline. “Alex was an extraordinary talent whose intelligence, wit and comforting presence appealed to millions of people around the world and made Jeopardy! the outstanding show it is today,” Yoshida said via Deadline.