Just when you thought the year 2020 couldn’t get any harder to take, news broke this morning that longtime Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek died this morning after a battle with pancreatic cancer. 

The show announced Trebek’s death on Twitter Sunday morning, saying the beloved television host was surrounded by family and friends when he died peacefully at home. 

As host of the quiz show since 1984, Trebek became a staple on televisions across the country, and his calm, kind demeanor won him millions of fans throughout the years. 

Trebek has been open about his cancer fight, providing updates to viewers that were filled with both candor and hope. “If we take it just one day at a time, with a positive attitude, anything is possible,” he told viewers in an update earlier this year.

But Trebek knew what he was up against, and just how ruthless stage four pancreatic cancer—and the rigorous chemotherapy treatments he was enduring—could be. 

He told the NY Times in an interview this July: 

“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 said. “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.”

Fans and contestants alike responded with an outpouring of love as Trebek’s fight unfolded. Last year, a contestant in the Tournament of Champions brought the normally stoic host to tears with his Final Jeopardy response: “We love you, Alex”—and the clip sparked a viral Twitter hashtag filled with admiration and support for the host. 

 

Trebek released a memoir this summer titled “The Answer Is … :Reflections on My Life.” The audiobook version is narrated by Trebek and perennial contestant (and potential new Jeopardy! host?) Ken Jennings, which puts it straight to the top of my “must-buy” list.  

News of Trebek’s death quickly spread on social media, and the tributes to the late icon are as wonderful as the man himself. 

The final taped episodes featuring Trebek behind the podium are slated to run through the end of the year. All of us will certainly miss his calming presence and iconic voice filling the airwaves—thanks for the memories, Alex. 

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Carolyn Moore

Carolyn traded a career in local TV news for a gig as a stay-at-home mom, where the days are just as busy and the pay is only slightly worse. She lives in flyover country with her husband and four young kids, and occasionally writes about raising them at Assignment Mom