Since March of last year, Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek has been battling stage 4 pancreatic cancer. Through his diagnosis and treatment, he has continued shooting new episodes of the classic game show — even in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. Sadly, Trebek passed away early Sunday. The news was announced on the show’s official Twitter account, which noted that Trebek died “peacefully at home ... surrounded by family and friends.” Trebek was 80 years old.

Enter your number to get our free mobile app

Trebek has been the host of the syndicated Jeopardy! series since it premiered in 1984. (The show first debuted on NBC way back in 1964.) For more than three and a half decades, Trebek was an enduring presence on American television sets, and he became famous for his witty banter with contestants and his crisp pronunciations of trivia answers (technically questions on Jeopardy!).

Trebek’s reach extended far beyond the confines of the show. Just last week, a winning Jeopardy! contestant cried as he explained that watching Trebek as a child had helped him learn English as a new immigrant to America. (Trebek was an immigrant himself; he was born in Canada in 1940 and became a U.S. citizen in 1998.)

Tributes to the host are already pouring in. Ken Jennings, the record-holder for the most wins in Jeopardy! history and the champion of the Jeopardy! The Greatest of All Time tournament tweeted that Alex “wasn’t just the best ever at what he did. He was also a lovely and deeply decent man.”

 

 

Gallery — The Best TV Shows of the Year So Far: