Final ‘Jeopardy!’ episode featuring Alex Trebek set for Dec. 25

Longtime host passes away at age 80 after battling pancreatic cancer

Alex Trebek, the beloved and legendary host of the TV gameshow “Jeopardy!” for more than three decades, died Sunday, according to multiple news reports.

Trebek was 80 years old and had been battling stage 4 pancreatic cancer.

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News of Trebek’s death was first reported by the entertainment news outlet TMZ. Sony Pictures studios later confirmed the news on social media, saying “we lost a legend.”

Trebek reportedly passed away at his home while surrounded by his family and friends.

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The television icon hosted the immensely popular show on NBC since 1984 and recently began filming its 37th season, reports said. His last day in the Jeopardy! studio was October 29, and his final episodes will air through Dec. 25, TMZ reported.

Trebek was signed to continue hosting the show through 2022, reports said.

Trebek had millions of fans after being a familiar presence on primetime TV for nearly 40 years. Many voices on social media Sunday described feeling as if they had grown up with the host — some also likened Trebek to a “member of the family” because his show typically came on TV during dinnertime.

The unflappable Trebek was known for his quick wit, professorial tone and his relative ease with pronouncing obscure and foreign terms. Aside from his bedside manner, he was also exacting and corrected the contestants whenever they misspoke or didn’t answer the clues in the form of a question.

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Trebek announced his cancer diagnosis in March 2019 but continued to host the show and gave regular updates to his fans about his prognosis.

In May 2019 he said his tumors shrank by more than half but he continued chemotherapy a few months later after suffering a setback.

For more than a year, Trebek maintained a positive face despite realizing he only had a 7 percent chance of survival.

Earlier this year he hosted the “Jeopardy! Greatest of All Time” tournament, which featured the biggest cash winners in the show’s history. One of those contestants, Ken Jennings, shared his condolences on social media Sunday, saying “Alex wasn’t just the best ever at what he did. He was also a lovely and deeply decent man, and I’m grateful for every minute I got to spend with him.”

James Holzhauer, another big winner on the show the past two seasons, also issued a statement on Twitter.

“It was one of the great privileges of my life to spend time with this courageous man while he fought the battle of his life. You will never be replaced in our hearts, Alex.”

Who is Alex Trebek?

Trebek was born in Ontario, Canada, on July 22, 1940. He attended the University of Ottawa and from an early age seemed destined for a career in television.

He started out as a newscaster at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in 1961, reports said. His introduction to gameshows came when he hosted a high school quiz show called “Reach for the Top.”

The U.S. television audience got its first glimpse of Trebek in 1973 when he hosted a new NBC show called “The Wizard of Odds.” From there he appeared on a variety of new gameshows throughout the 1970s and early 1980s, including “High Rollers” and even a brief stint on “Wheel of Fortune.”

“Jeopardy!" was a revival of an old TV gameshow that ran from 1964 to 1975, hosted by Art Fleming. When the revamped episodes hit the air in 1984, they featured a suave and younger Alex who back then sported dark curly hair and a thick mustache. He became a permanent U.S. citizen in 1998 and also has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

During a 36-year TV career, Trebek won 6 Daytime Emmy Awards for outstanding game show host and also set a Guinness World record in June 2014 for most game show episodes ever hosted at 6,829.

He is survived by his wife, Jean Currivan, and their two children, Matthew and Emily.