Longtime Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek has died. TMZ reported that Trebek died at age 80 on Sunday morning, surrounded by his family and friends. The news comes a little over a year after Trebek first revealed that he had been diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. While the publication has not stated his exact cause of death, it is believed that Trebek passed away due to complications stemming from his cancer diagnosis.
A Jeopardy! spokesperson told TMZ, "Jeopardy is saddened to share that Alex Trebek passed away peacefully at home early this morning, surrounded by family and friends." As previously stated, Trebek, who began hosting Jeopardy! back in 1984, announced that he had been diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer in March 2019. Despite his diagnosis, he made no plans to retire and continued to host the quiz show program.
Jeopardy! is saddened to share that Alex Trebek passed away peacefully at home early this morning, surrounded by family and friends. Thank you, Alex. pic.twitter.com/Yk2a90CHIM— Jeopardy! (@Jeopardy) November 8, 2020
Jeopardy! shared that episodes hosted by Trebek will continue to air through Dec. 25. The last day that he taped in the studio was on Oct. 29. Trebek went through a series of ups and downs throughout his battle with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. In May 2019, his tumors shrunk by 50 percent, which was a great sign of progress. However, he began a new round of chemotherapy a few months later when his numbers declined. Trebek made it through a full year with his diagnosis, noting that his odds of surviving a second year with pancreatic cancer were at 7 percent.
Still, he had hoped to make that milestone, as well. Despite a challenging year while battling the illness, the game show host said that he would continue to fight as he believed that giving up on life would be a betrayal to his wife, Jean Currivan-Trebek, God, and other cancer patients. When he first announced the news, he told Jeopardy! fans via a video recorded for the show's official YouTube account. In the video, he said that he wanted to share this news to prevent his fans from "reading or hearing some overblown or inaccurate reports regarding" his health. He also said that nearly 50,000 individuals receive that same diagnosis each year.
"Now normally, the prognosis for this is not very encouraging, but I'm going to fight this, and I'm going to keep working," he continued. "And with the love and support of my family and friends and with the help of your prayers also, I plan to beat the low survival rate statistics for this disease." Trebek then undercut the news with a joke and promised that he would remain on the air. "Truth told, I have to! Because under the terms of my contract, I have to host Jeopardy! for three more years!" he said. "So help me. Keep the faith and we'll win. We'll get it done. Thank you." Trebek is survived by his wife, Currivan-Trebek, and their two children, Matthew and Emily.