Over a year after he was first diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer in March 2019, the longtime Jeopardy! host has died. He was 80. “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 show announced via Twitter on Nov. 8. Born in Ontario, Trebek began his career at the Canadian Broadcasting Company in 1961. He hosted a few other game shows before taking on the role of Jeopardy! host in 1984, becoming a household name over the nearly 40 years that he starred on the series. He battled several other health issues throughout his time on the show, including two heart attacks, a full knee replacement, surgery to remove blood clots on his brain and a torn Achilles tendon.
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He also has an older daughter Nicky, 53, whom he adopted when he was married to Nicky’s mom, his first wife Elaine Callei. The legendary television writer and producer died from complications related to Lewy body dementia, according to his son Kevin Spears. “Ken will forever be remembered for his wit, his story-telling, his loyalty to family, and his strong work ethic,” he told Variety in a statement. “Ken has not only made a lasting impression on his family, but he has touched the lives of many as co-creator of ‘Scooby-Doo.’ Ken has been a role model for us throughout his life and he will continue to live on in our hearts.” Born in 1938 in Los Angeles, Spears developed a friendship with producer William Hanna’s son, which later led him to join Hanna-Barbera Productions as a sound editor in 1959. There, he met Joe Ruby, who would become his longtime collaborator and with whom he founded Ruby-Spears Production in 1977.