Alex Trebek Cause of Death: How Did Jeopardy Host Die?

alex trebek cause of death

Getty Alex Trebek

Alex Trebek, the long-time host of the game show Jeopardy! has died, TMZ reported on November 8.

What was his cause of death? Trebek was battling pancreatic cancer. TMZ reported that Trebek had died at the age of 80, peacefully, surrounded by family. “Alex had been battling stage 4 pancreatic cancer since announcing the news back in March 2019. He immediately started chemo after the diagnosis,” TMZ reported.

“Jeopardy is saddened to share that Alex Trebek passed away peacefully at home early this morning, surrounded by family and friends,” a spokesperson for the show told TMZ.

Trebek leaves behind his wife, Jean, their children Matthew and Emily, and his adopted daughter, Nicky.

Here’s what you need to know:

Trebek Had Said His Cancer Treatments Were ‘Paying Off’

Alex Trebek Birthday

GettyAlex Trebek says he wears a hair piece since the chemo treatment for his pancreatic cancer has caused him to lose his hair.

Initially, even as recently as July 2020, Trebek had said his cancer treatments were “paying off,” according to WebMD.

“I’m doing well,” the 79-year-old host 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.”

He also indicated that he had written a book. According to WebMD, Trebek was first diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in March 2019.

When he announced by YouTube video that he had pancreatic cancer, Trebek told fans he was hoping to beat it.

“Hi everyone. I have some news to share with you and it’s in keeping with my longtime policy of being open and transparent with our Jeopardy fanbase,” said Trebek. “I also wanted to prevent you from reading or hearing some overblown or inaccurate reports regarding my health. So, therefore, I wanted to be the one to pass along this information. Now, just like 50,000 other people in the United States each year, this week, I was diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer.”

He added: “Now, normally, the prognosis for this is not very encouraging, but I’m going to fight this, and I’m going to keep working and with the love and support of my family and friends and with the help of your prayers also, I plan to beat the low survival rate statistics for this disease.”

Trebek Said the Journey Was Not an Easy One

Alex Trebek at a taping of Jeopardy

GettyAlex Trebek speaks during a rehearsal before a taping of Jeopardy! Power Players Week at DAR Constitution Hall on April 21, 2012 in Washington, DC.

Trebek kept fans updated on his condition with videos. According to, he said in one:

“I’d be lying if I said the journey had been an easy one. 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.”

Trebek said in the video. “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.”

Trebek Discussed His Happiness With Wife Jean

Alex Trebek kids


Trebek discussed how happy his marriage was to People Magazine, but he expressed that he wished he had met wife Jean sooner.

“I’m pretty satisfied with my life. But my wife Jean and I have been together almost 29 years, and I was thinking about President Bush when he died, and all the comments about his life about what a nice guy he is, and how he and his wife had been together 73 years,” he said.

“I thought, oh my gosh… if I’d just met Jean in my 20s we could have had a longer life together.”

Trebek Was Born in Canada, Where He Got His Start in Game Shows

GettyAlex Trebek attends the 150th anniversary of Canada’s Confederation at the Official Residence of Canada.

According to, Trebek was born in 1940 in northern Ontario, Canada. His mother was Lucille Trebek and his father was George Trebek.

Trebek’s father was a hard-drinking Ukrainian immigrant who worked as a chef, and his mom was of French-Canadian and First Nations heristage, the biography says.

“My dad drank pretty heavily, and he never missed a day of work in his life,” Trebek said, according to

The site says that Trebek got his start in game shows in the 1960s with a Canadian quiz show called Reach for the Top and later moved into the American game show circuit with a show called The Wizard of Odds. He was chosen as the Jeopardy! host in 1984.

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