Alex Trebek, the longtime host of Jeopardy! who went on to become one of the most familiar and beloved faces on worldwide television, has passed away at 80 after a year-long battle with pancreatic cancer. The news was confirmed on the show’s official Twitter account this afternoon. “Jeopardy! is saddened to share that Alex Trebek passed away peacefully at home early this morning, surrounded by family and friends,” the statement read. “Thank you, Alex.”
Trebek was born in Sudbury, Canada and began working in media at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in the 1960s. He began his work hosting television game shows in the 1970s, appearing on shows such as Double Dare and The $128,000 Question. In 1984, Trebek became the host of Jeopardy!, which solidified him as a pop culture icon. His tenure spanned over three decades; he has reportedly hosted more than 8,200 episodes of Jeopardy! over the course of 37 seasons.
Trebek became the consummate game show host; fans of the show tuned in his calming, gentle energy. “The stars of the show are the contestants and the game itself. That’s why I’ve always insisted that I be introduced as the host and not the star,” Trebek told Vulture of his role in 2018. “And if you want to be a good host, you have to figure a way to get the contestants to—as in the old television commercial about the military—‘be all you can be.’” Trebek won five Emmy Awards as the host of the show, as well as a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences in 2011.
Trebek announced his cancer diagnosis on the show last year, sharing he had been diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. He leaves behind a remarkable legacy; the show has yet to announce a new host. “It’s a good show,” Trebek said of Jeopardy! in 2018. “It should, and will, go on after I’m done.”