One of America's most cherished game-show hosts is gone. Alex Trebek, the level-headed host of Jeopardy!, has died at age 80 amid a battle with pancreatic cancer, TMZ reports. "Jeopardy! is saddened to share that Alex Trebek passed away peacefully at home early this morning, surrounded by family and friends," the show's producers tweeted Sunday. "Thank you, Alex." Diagnosed in March 2019, Trebek quickly entered chemo and hosted the show for a year despite "massive attacks of great depression that made me wonder if it was really worth fighting on," he said. He concluded that giving up would only let down other cancer patients, his wife, and God. But he knew the odds of surviving another year with pancreatic cancer were only 7%.
Born in Ontario, Canada, Trebek began as a CBC news host and moved on to the high school quiz show Reach for the Top. He soon hosted shows including The Wizard of Odds and High Rollers before landing the Jeopardy! job, where he set a Guinness World record for most episodes hosted (6,829) in June 2014; he hosted over 8,200 in all over 37 seasons, per Variety. He also won five Daytime Emmy Awards for outstanding game show host and was given a Peabody Award for "encouraging, celebrating and rewarding knowledge." That seems in sync with a message Trebek left on the show's website: "I think what makes 'Jeopardy!' special is that, among all the quiz and game shows out there, ours tends to reward and encourage learning." (Read more Alex Trebek stories.)