America lost one of its most beloved TV icons over the weekend.
Longtime Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek died Sunday after a public battle with pancreatic cancer, the Associated Press reported. He was 80 years old.
A beloved TV host
With his playful demeanor, Trebek made learning fun for millions of fans who came to see him as a day-to-day companion over the course of his legendary 37 years with the quiz show Jeopardy!. He made an active participant of his viewers with a magic touch.
The bond between Trebek and his audience grew stronger last year when he shared that he was suffering from stage 4 pancreatic cancer. “Normally the prognosis for this is not very encouraging, but I’m going to fight this and I’m going to keep working,” he said at the time, according to ABC 13 in Los Angeles. “I plan to beat the low survival rate statistics for this disease.”
Trebek continued to host Jeopardy! and had pre-taped episodes before he passed away at home this weekend, surrounded by family and friends. His final episodes were taped in October, according to Deadline, and are set to air on Christmas Day. He was under contract with the show until 2022.
A “comforting voice”
News of Trebek’s death was met with tributes from fans, producers, and former contestants on the show.
“For 37 amazing years, Alex Trebek 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,” Sony Pictures said, according to the BBC.
Former winning contestant Ken Jennings said in a tweet that he was “grateful for every minute I got to spend with [Trebek].”
“Thinking today about his family and his Jeopardy! family — which, in a way, included millions of us,” Jennings added, as the BBC reported.
A legend lost
Born in Canada, Trebek hosted shows like The Wizard of Odds, Double Dare, High Rollers, Battlestars, Classic Concentration, and To Tell The Truth, but he is mostly known for Jeopardy!, which he took over when it came back in 1984, according to Deadline.
Through a storied career, Trebek earned seven daytime Emmys, a lifetime achievement Emmy, and hosted more than 8,200 episodes of the show, earning a Guinness Book of World Records for the most game show episodes by a single presenter, according to ABC 13.
At the end of the day, however, Trebek’s impact is immeasurable. When fans think of Alex Trebek, they think of sitting around the TV with family, calling out answers as if they were contestants themselves. Countless Americans will miss his kindness, his smarts, and his unremitting dedication to his profession.