UPDATE (1/8/2021, 9:12pm ET): After Jeopardy! released a special tribute video for Alex Trebek, the game show proceeded to air its last ever episode hosted by the late TV legend. At the very end of the episode — filmed just 10 days before Alex’s death — he wrapped the show in the same way he has for nearly 37 years. “Thank you ladies and gentlemen for spending your time with us, we’ll see you again next week,” Alex told viewers, before walking off the set and raising a fist pump in the air.
ORIGINAL: It was an incredibly emotional night for many Jeopardy! fans as they watched the beloved host, Alex Trebek, lead the show one last time. The final episodes were bitter sweet for a nation of fans who grew up watching Alex ask questions, kid around with contestants, and seek more and more knowledge over the decades. Ahead of the last episode that aired on Jan. 8, the Jeopardy! Twitter account shared a video montage of Alex’s iconic moments on the game show, which he began hosting in 1984. You can watch the sweet tribute, set to the tune of Peter Allen‘s bittersweet song “Once Before I Go,” below.
Simply the best.
Thank you, Alex. pic.twitter.com/GgXbV4AWMt
— Jeopardy! (@Jeopardy) January 8, 2021
Alex’s passing was confirmed on November 8, 2020, after a nearly two-year battle with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. “Jeopardy! is saddened to share that Alex Trebek passed away peacefully at home early this morning, surrounded by family and friends,” a statement shared to the official Jeopardy! social media accounts read. Alex’s final day in the studio was on October 29, just days before he passed away.On November 23, one of the long-running game show’s MVP’s was selected to be the interim host, as production searched for Alex’s replacement. Ken Jennings, who appeared on Jeopardy! a number of times, was selected to take on the role after Alex’s passing. Ken holds the record for 74 consecutive wins from his time on the show in 2004. Ken will surely make a worthy host, but before his death, Alex offered his own recommendation.
“I joke with the audience all the time and I say, ‘Betty White,’ because they want somebody younger, somebody funnier,” he said in a July 2020 interview with Good Morning America. Even at that time, Alex had “no say” in who would ultimately replace him one day. The charismatic personality had, however, signed a contract to continue hosting duties well into 2022, per an October 2018 report from our sister publication Deadline.More than anything, before his passing, Alex wanted his fans, admirers, and viewers of the show to know just how much they meant to him. “They are the most important elements in my life outside of my family and friends,” he said of the show’s cast, crew, contestants, and viewers. “Because they have expressed their feelings about me in so many positive ways that I can’t help but be touched by what they have to say and by what I mean to them. It’s humbling. It’s nice to be humbled.”