Alex Trebek, who hosted the popular TV game show “Jeopardy!” for several decades, has died after battling pancreatic cancer. He was 80.
A spokesperson for the ABC question-and-answer show confirmed the news to several outlets.
“Jeopardy! is saddened to share that Alex Trebek passed away peacefully at home early this morning, surrounded by family and friends. Thank you, Alex,” the show announced on Nov. 8.
In 2019, Trebek shared details of his fight against stage 4 cancer.
“Just like 50,000 other people in the United States each year, this week I was diagnosed with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer,” he told his fans at the time. “I plan to beat the low survival-rate statistics for this disease. Truth told, I have to, because, under the terms of my contract, I have to host Jeopardy for three more years.”
He revealed his cancer diagnosis in March of 2019, saying he would fight the disease. The announcement came as he had signed a contract to continue hosting “Jeopardy!” until 2022.
But at one point, he noted that his odds of surviving late-stage cancer were slim—at just 7 percent.
In July, Trebek said he was undergoing experimental treatments and also published a memoir, “The Answer Is …: Reflections on My Life,” and donated the proceeds to charity. He said that he would stop cancer treatments if they didn’t work.
“Yesterday morning, my wife came to me and said, ‘How are you feeling?’ And I said, ‘I feel like I want to die.’ It was that bad,” he was quoted by ET Canada as saying. “There comes a time where you have to make a decision as to whether you want to continue with such a low quality of life, or whether you want to just ease yourself into the next level. It doesn’t bother me in the least.”
“I’m doing well,” he also said in a video. “I’ve been continuing my treatment, and it is paying off. Though it does fatigue me a great deal, my numbers are good. I’m feeling great. In fact, during the break from the studio, I even wrote a book that will be coming out July 21.”
Last year, even as he continued to host the show, Trebek said that chemotherapy was causing sores to form around his mouth, making it hard to speak.
“I’m sure there are observant members of the television audience that notice also, but they’re forgiving,” Trebek told CTV, referring to the effects of the chemotherapy.
“But there will come a point when they (fans and producers) will no longer be able to say, ‘It’s OK.’”