Alex Trebek, the charmingly matter-of-fact host of the cerebral game show Jeopardy! for 36 years, has died following his highly publicized battle with pancreatic cancer.
He was 80.
The show's Instagram account confirmed his death Sunday, posting simply, "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 future TV star was born July 22, 1940, in Sudbury, Ontario, Canada. With a background in philosophy, Trebek aimed for a career in broadcast journalism, taking his first steps in that direction for the CBC while he was still in school at the University of Ottawa.
Covering news for the network, he first tried his hand at hosting with the 1963 Canadian music series Music Hop, and hosted his first quiz show, Reach for the Top, in 1966.
His hosting duties continued, and they expanded once he relocated to Los Angeles, where he hosted the game shows The Wizard of Odds (1973-1974), Double Dare (1976-1977), and The New High Rollers (1979-1980).
In 1984, Trebek shot two different pilots for a revival of the classic game show Jeopardy! (1964-1975), which had been hosted by his friend Art Fleming (1924-1995). One of the Merv Griffin (1925-2007)-produced pilots was picked up and became a pop cultural sensation, with handsome, drily funny Trebek reading answers instead of questions, and requiring contestants to always answer in the form of a question. The show called for vast general knowledge, distinguishing it from games of chance.
It was also an attention-grabber for its inimitable "Think" Final Jeopardy theme.
Trebek, often a multi-tasker, successfully hosted Classic Concentration (1987-1991) during his early Jeopardy! years, among other side jobs.
The mustachioed host became so iconic he was called upon to play himself in numerous guest spots on series, in person or voicing animated appearances, including on such shows as Mama's Family (1988), The Golden Girls (1992), Ellen (1995), The Nanny (1995), Beverly Hills, 90210 (1995), Seinfeld (1996), Men Behaving Badly (1997), The Simpsons (1997), Baywatch (1998), Mad About You (1999), Family Guy (2006), How I Met Your Mother (2013), Hot in Cleveland (2014), and Orange Is the New Black (2018).
An infrequent guest on game shows, he placed second on Celebrity Poker Showdown in 2005 and To Tell the Truth in 2018.
Among many industry honors, Trebek was the recipient of seven Outstanding Game Show Host Daytime Emmys, a Lifetime Achievement Daytime Emmy, and — though a naturalized U.S. citizen — was named an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2017.
Trebek announced he had been diagnosed with stage IV pancreatic cancer on March 6 of last year, and went on to grant interviews to spread information about the disease, and to give hope to others dealing with it. Though he had a poor prognosis and the treatment was extremely painful and draining, he continued to work and to project optimism. He published an inspiration memoir, The Answer Is... Reflections on My Life (Simon & Schuster) just four months ago.
Trebek is survived by his second wife, Jean, of 30 years, and three children.