Dhruv Gaur must have known he was throwing the game.
But what the Brown University college student scribbled on his telestrator as the familiar Final Jeopardy music played mattered so much more than winning Monday night’s “Jeopardy!” game.
It was a simple gesture of love and gratitude for Jeopardy’s beloved, cancer-stricken host, Alex Trebek.
Gaur’s screen read: “We (heart) you Alex!”
As 79-year-old Trebek, who announced he has stage four pancreatic cancer in March, read the words, the famously stoic host visibly fought back his emotions.
“That’s very kind of you, thank you,” he said, struggling not to cry as he paused. “Cost you $1,995. You’re left with $5. OK.”
This is so touching. pic.twitter.com/6KQ7MBNzDc
— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) November 12, 2019
It didn’t take long for the moment to go viral.
On Twitter, the hashtag #WeLoveAlex quickly started trending, with fans pouring out their own emotional responses and sharing well wishes for the iconic television host.
Watching Alex Trebek get choked up during Final Jeopardy when a contestant burned his answer to share a special message, is more than I can handle tonight #WeLoveYouAlex. ❤️
— Amina Bobb Brattke (@AminaBrattke) November 12, 2019
Dhruv responded to Final Jeopardy with “we ❤️ you Alex” and Alex was overcome with emotion and then I disintegrated and no longer exist#weloveyouAlex
— Kara (@karafreeman) November 12, 2019
If you’re a GenXer, Alex Trebek is a childhood icon. He was part of the fabric of life for 80s kids. I’d watch w friends & family—shouting out answers. When my Nani visited from India, she’d watch, too. She didn’t speak English but she loved seeing people’s joy. #weloveyoualex https://t.co/4PB9w9Op6P
— Samira Ahmed (@sam_aye_ahm) November 12, 2019
— Welby_white (@WelbyWhite) November 12, 2019
Trebek recently began a second round of chemotherapy for his aggressive cancer, but told CTV he’s not afraid. “The thought of the pancreatic cancer does not frighten me. I’m not afraid of dying. One thing they’re not going to say at my funeral as part of a eulogy: ‘He was taken from us too soon.’ I’m 79 years old. I have lived a good life, a full life and I’m nearing the end of that life. I know that. I’m not going to delude myself.”
For what it’s worth, on Monday’s episode the final category was “famous phrases”: In the title of a groundbreaking 1890 exposé of poverty in New York City slums, these 3 words follow “How the”.
Gaur almost certainly knew the correct question to that answer. Heck, even I knew it (“What is “other half lives.”).
And though he may have gotten it wrong, Gaur got something more important absolutely right. The gesture was rich with kindness, compassion, and genuine gratitude for a man who’s been a fixture in so many of our living rooms for decades.
Quite simply, one man said what we all wish we could say to a beloved television great: we (heart) you, Alex.