Monday night's Jeopardy! episode began in a way that fans of the show hoped it never would. Mike Richards, the show's executive producer, spoke teary eyed to the audience to address the death of the show's longtime host Alex Trebek, who passed away of pancreatic cancer on Nov. 8. "Over the weekend we lost our beloved host," Richards said. "This is an enormous loss."
Richards shared that Trebek taped his final episodes less than two weeks ago, and that those episodes will be aired as Trebek wanted them to be. "He will forever be an inspiration for his constant desire to learn, his kindness, and his love of his family," Richards said. "Thank you for everything, Alex." The camera then zoomed out to show an empty stage and there was a moment of silence before the show's classic theme music came in.
And then, like a familiar and already missed friend, a pre-recorded Trebek walked out on stage as he has since he first began hosting the show in 1986.
Today we honor Alex Trebek. For over three decades he brought integrity, humor and intelligence to his duties as host of Jeopardy! He will be in our hearts forever.
Thank you, Alex. Love from us all. 💜 pic.twitter.com/w8abYY8SX5
— Jeopardy! (@Jeopardy) November 10, 2020
Fans and former contestants of the show have been sharing heartfelt messages about Trebek on social media since the news of his death was announced on Sunday. Jeopardy! GOAT Ken Jennings tweeted, "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."
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
My son saw him on an airplane over 20 years ago. He was so excited, yet we calmed him down so as to not draw attention. He turned around and smiled every now and then to him. As we deboarded the plane, Alex asked our son's name. He had pulled out a book and autographed it. pic.twitter.com/pEP7VFgB6m
— Scott Wessels (@luvernechatter) November 8, 2020
One man shared a story about running into Trebek at an airport, writing, "My son saw him on an airplane over 20 years ago. He was so excited, yet we calmed him down so as to not draw attention. He turned around and smiled every now and then to him. As we deboarded the plane, Alex asked our son's name. He had pulled out a book and autographed it."
I too will never forget the time I was privileged enough to spend with him. What an honor. Prayers to his loved ones.😢💔 pic.twitter.com/fV1u04rakO
— Julie Reynolds (@JustJules1023) November 8, 2020
RIP Alex Trebek. You entertained generations of viewers—teaching us so many random facts and putting countless smiles on our faces in the process. 🙏🏾 pic.twitter.com/NTXOM9GRg8
— Brian A. Hernandez (@BAHjournalist) November 8, 2020
Former contestant Julie Reynolds wrote, "I too will never forget the time I was privileged enough to spend with him. What an honor. Prayers to his loved ones."
Thank you, Alex! We will miss seeing you in our living rooms every weekday evening. Rest peacefully now, and thank you for being part of all of our families! 🙏🏿🕯️
— Ebony Elizabeth Thomas (@Ebonyteach) November 8, 2020
There's no word yet on who will replace Trebek as host of the game show, and pre-recorded episodes featuring Trebek will continue to air through December. Regardless of what comes next, one thing that's certain is Trebek's positive effect on millions of people and the gratitude people of all ages feel for having had the chance to enjoy a half hour with him each weeknight for decades.
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