Alex Trebek, who presided over the beloved quiz show “Jeopardy!” for more than 30 years with dapper charm and a touch of school-master strictness, died Sunday. He was 80.
Trebek, who announced in 2019 that he had advanced pancreatic cancer, died at his California home, surrounded by family and friends, “Jeopardy!” studio Sony said.
“Jeopardy!" bills itself as “America’s favorite quiz show" and captivated the public with a unique format in which contestants were told the answers and had to provide the questions on a variety of subjects, including movies, politics, history and popular culture.
They would answer by saying “What is ... ?” or “Who is .... ?”
Trebek, who became its host in 1984, was a master of the format, engaging in friendly banter with contestants, appearing genuinely pleased when they answered correctly and, at the same time, moving the game along in a brisk no-nonsense fashion whenever people struggled for answers.
Celebrities reacted to the news of Trebek's death on social media, sharing how much the "Jeopardy!" host meant to them.
“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 ... Thinking today about his family and his Jeopardy! family — which, in a way, included millions of us.” — “Jeopardy!” contestant Ken Jennings on Twitter.
“So saddened to hear Alex Trebek has died. It was an honor to share the dinner hour with him. He fought his cancer battle valiantly,” — ABC World News Tonight anchor David Muir 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,” — “Jeopardy!” contestant James Holzhauer on Twitter.
“We mourn the loss of #alextrebek — a friend, a colleague, an icon. He graced us with warmth, wit & pure elegance, which is why we welcomed him into our homes night after night, year after year. We are deeply saddened for his wife Jean, his family & millions of Jeopardy fans,” — Walt Disney Co. executive chairman Robert Iger on Twitter.
“My heart breaks for the Trebek family upon hearing this heartbreaking news. Alex Trebek was a legend. There was no one like him. Kind, elegant, talented, good. Heaven just became brighter and we here on earth mourn him,” — Maria Shriver on Twitter.
“Couldn’t we have one nice weekend? A kind gentleman whose excellence was so consistent, it was easy to take for granted. Rest well, Mr. Trebek,” — Jimmy Kimmel on Twitter.
“I'm so saddened that Alex Trebek has passed. Growing up, he made me feel like my nerdiness was valuable and I loved learning from watching jeopardy. It was our family’s nightly pleasure,” — TV personality and author Padma Lakshmi on Twitter.
"I am overwhelmed with emotion right now and my heart goes out to the Trebek family," — “Jeopardy!” contestant Burt Thakur on Twitter.
“I’m honored to have known Alex Trebek, have a few meals with him, have him share some of his wisdom. On the @TCM cruise, he got me to swim w/ the dolphins. No one else could’ve done that. He was the best at what he did,” — TCM host Ben Mankiewicz on Twitter.
“Alex Trebek, you brought us so much knowledge, both important and fun, through the years. Your final battle with cancer was heroic, and we are heartbroken that it has taken you from us. I’ll take ‘Great TV Personas of Our Time’ for $800. The heavens have all the answers now,” — Actor George Takei on Twitter.
"We love you, Alex. And always will," said "Deadpool" actor Ryan Reynolds on Twitter.
Talkshow host and comedian Ellen DeGeneres wrote, "What an incredible career and remarkable life."
The prime minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, said the world "lost an icon."
Television and game show host Chris Harrison said a "legend" was lost.
Actress Viola Davis called Trebek "A true, true gentleman."
American singer, songwriter, and record producer John Legend shared how he loved Trebek's show growing up.
English broadcaster Piers Morgan said the passing of Trebek was "sad news."
“Jeopardy!” made Trebek famous. He won five Emmys as its host, and received stars on both the Hollywood and Canadian walks of fame. In 2012, the show won a prestigious Peabody Award.
He taped his daily “Jeopardy!” shows at a frenetic pace, recording as many as 10 episodes (two weeks’ worth) in just two days.
Although many viewers considered him one of the key reasons for the show’s success, Trebek himself insisted he was only there to keep things moving.
“I’m introduced as the host of 'Jeopardy!,' not the star,” he said in a 2012 interview. “My job is to provide the atmosphere and assistance to the contestants to get them to perform at their very best,” he explained. “And if I’m successful doing that, I will be perceived as a nice guy and the audience will think of me as being a bit of a star."
Former contestants on the game show shared their shock and condolences about Trebek's passing.