Beloved Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek passed away on Sunday at the age of 80 after a battle with stage 4 pancreatic cancer and over the nearly four decades he hosted the syndicated game show, Trebek touched millions of lives, including that of Ken Jennings. Jennings, who holds the record for being the highest-earning American game show contestant of all time, first rose to public prominence after his record-breaking Jeopardy! run in 2004 and on Sunday, took to Twitter to remember Trebek in a moving post.
On Twitter, Jennings called Trebek a "lovely and deeply decent man" and noted the extent of Trebek's influence, referring to millions of viewers as being part of his Jeopardy! family.
"Alex wasn't just the best ever at what he did. He was also a lovely and deeply decent man, and I'm grateful for every minute I got to spend with him" Jennings wrote. "Thinking today about his family and his Jeopardy! family -- which, in a way, included millions of us."
Alex wasn’t just the best ever at what he did. He was also a lovely and deeply decent man, and I’m grateful for every minute I got to spend with him. pic.twitter.com/CdHCcbqmp2— Ken Jennings (@KenJennings) November 8, 2020
Born in Canada in 1940, Trebek had a long career as a gameshow host, first in his native Canada before hosting The Wizard of Odds in the United States in 1973. It was taking the job as the host for Jeopardy! in 1984 that made him a pop culture icon, however, and he continued hosting the show even after his cancer diagnosis. Given that the long-running game show films far in advance, Trebek's final episode of Jeopardy! will air on Christmas Day.
During his battle with cancer, Trebek also continued to keep fans updated on his condition as well as shared his struggles with the illness.
"Now I’d be lying if I said the journey had been an easy one," Trebek previously shared in a video update. "There were some good days but a lot of not-so-good days. I joked with friends that the cancer won’t kill me, the chemo treatments will. There were moments of great pain, days when certain bodily functions no longer functioned and sudden, massive attacks of great depression that made me wonder if it really was worth fighting on. But I brushed that aside quickly because that would have been a massive betrayal - a betrayal of my wife and soulmate, Jean, who has given her all to help me survive. It would have been a betrayal of other cancer patients who have looked to me as an inspiration and a cheerleader of sorts, of the value of living and hope, of my faith in God and the millions of prayers that have been said on my behalf."
As for Jennings, his work with Trebek on Jeopardy! extended far beyond his record-breaking appearances. Jennings joined the show as a consulting producer in its 37th and current season.
Our thoughts are with Trebek's family, friends, and fans at this time.
Photo: Jeopardy Productions via Getty Images.