Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek dead at eighty

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Alex Trebek, the beloved host of Jeopardy! for the past thirty-seven years, recently passed away on Nov. 8. 

Trebek had been battling stage-4 pancreatic cancer since March 2019 and began chemotherapy treatment soon after. But Trebek had no intentions to retire.

Instead, he continued to host Jeopardy! He believed in the power of the show and was dedicated in his efforts to entertain and educate his viewers.

Unfortunately for Trebek, pancreatic cancer is one of the most deadly forms of the disease. It is the 4th most leading cause of cancer deaths among men and women and for those diagnosed with a case in its later stage, the survival rate is only 3 per cent past five years.

But Trebek prevailed. In May 2019, he announced his tumours had shrunk by over 50 per cent. Although he would have to receive a second round of chemotherapy soon after, Trebek kept an optimistic look on his situation.

He would lose his battle to cancer over a year after the diagnosis, passing away peacefully at home surrounded by family, but not before solidifying his legacy and doing some good for his community.

Trebek was a genrous humanitarian. He and his wife donated $500,000 to a Los Angeles homeless shelter only four months before his passing. The Trebek Family Foundation, created in 2011, was formed by him and his wife as a way to accommodate the expansive donations they had been requested. 

“Once you form a charitable foundation it becomes easier to give,” Trebek said in a 2012 interview with the Washingtonian. This was a man whose livelihood centered around the betterment of other’s lives.

Trebek was the first and only person I was ever comfortable being completely confused by. I will never forget the nights with my grandfather, listening to his often wildly incorrect answers whispered towards the television set in response to Trebek.

As a nine-year-old—unless the answer was Lightning McQueen—I was typically in the dark when it came to the show. But I can’t imagine a place on Earth where I’ve felt more safe than nuzzled into those khaki leather recliners, watching Jeopardy! with my grandfather.

It’s always disheartening to see the end of an era, to know your childhood “happy place” will never be the same. 

It reminds me that I don’t have all the time in the world to spend with my grandfather—him being three years older than Trebek. For that awareness, I am grateful. There’s no easier way to lose a person than to passively assume they’ll always be there.

For years, Trebek has been a source of comfort, confidence and endless knowledge. He solidified the idea that even a smart man can be a smart ass when he feels like it.

Trebek lives on through his wife of thirty years, Jean, and his children Nicky, Matthew and Emily. His legacy will continue throughout television for years to come, inspiring not only the future host of Jeopardy! but television personalities of all kinds.

And it’s impossible to reflect on Trebek without feeling the urge to look back on SNL’s Celebrity Jeopardy skits. Played by Will Ferrel, Trebek maintains his professionally sarcastic demeanor through a running feud with actor Sean Connery, a comedic duo made in heaven.

So, remember Trebek for his generosity and his humour. Not only was he an entertainer, he was a husband, a father, a philanthropist and a man with the drive to better the lives of others.

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