Whenever I go to my grandmother’s house for dinner, we always watch Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy! together after our meal. Although both are beloved American game shows, Jeopardy! was always my favorite of the two; there’s something about screaming answers to questions you may-or-may-not know at your TV that makes the whole experience all the more fun. However, one of the best parts of Jeopardy! was its charismatic host, Alex Trebek. He always had a way of incorporating humor into the show and it was clear that he was passionate about his work.
Alex Trebek passed away on November 8th, 2020 after a fight with pancreatic cancer. Though I had known he was dealing with it for a while, I was shocked. I thought about how I would never see his face light up my grandmother’s TV when I visit. I thought about all of the people who were impacted by him and his work, whether that be Jeopardy! contestants or people in his personal life. Getting to compete on Jeopardy! has been a dream for a lot of people; although that opportunity is still there, it will surely be a different experience.
Trebek started at Jeopardy! in 1984 (when the game show was revived) and was a part of the show for 37 seasons. Although he was mostly recognized for Jeopardy, he also hosted other shows, including The Wizard of Odds, Double Dare, High Rollers, Battlestars, Classic Concentration, and To Tell the Truth.
Trebek publicly announced that he had been diagnosed with stage IV pancreatic cancer on March 6th, 2019. He was determined to fight the disease from the start and spoke about how he wanted to continue on the show for as long as possible. Despite progress in his condition, he was still faced with health issues throughout that year. A heartfelt moment occurred on the November 11th episode of 2019 when a contestant listed his final Jeopardy! answer as “What is We ♡ you, Alex!”, causing an emotional reaction from the host and a trending Twitter hashtag of #WeLoveYouAlex.
In early 2020, Trebek had survived one year of cancer treatment. He continued undergoing surgery and chemotherapy and returned to the show in October 2020. He had to reduce his workload due to the pain he was experiencing. He passed away at the age of 80 and is survived by his wife, Jean, and their two children.
Although Trebek may no longer be Jeopardy!’s host, I know I haven’t seen the last of him: I still see Tik Toks of Jeopardy! segments and old clips from time to time. For now, though, I’ll take “Rest in Peace, Alex” for $1000.