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Update: Prime Minister Trudeau sends message of condolence after death of Alex Trebek

Jeopardy! host was born in Sudbury, attended Sudbury Secondary School. City flags will be lowered to half-staff.
Alex Trebek. (Supplied)

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau issued a statement after the passing of Alex Trebek on Nov. 8.

“Today, we lost a proud Canadian and beloved TV star who was a familiar face to millions of people across North America and around the world. For many of us, Alex Trebek was a daily part of our lives. As the host of Jeopardy! for almost four decades, he hosted more episodes of a single television game show than anyone else in history. We looked forward to his quick wit and wry jokes – and the questions about Canada he’d sneak into the show," wrote Trudeau in his statement.

“Alex never hesitated to promote Canada on prime time TV, and to take the opportunity to stump even the brightest contestants with questions about Canadian culture, history, and geography.

“We will also never forget the night Alex showed up without his trademark moustache. For every memorable moment on the show, millions more were made in living rooms around the world, as friends and families huddled around the TV, shouting at the screen, looking for the Daily Double.

“Alex was honoured with awards throughout his career, from Daytime Emmys and a Canadian Academy Icon Award to stars on Canada’s Walk of Fame and the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He was also named an Officer of the Order of Canada for his dedication to educational, environmental, and humanitarian causes. Alex also served as Honorary President of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society.

“On behalf of all Canadians, Sophie and I offer our deepest condolences to Alex’s family, friends, and his many, many fans.”

Arguably the most famous person to come from Sudbury, Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek, passed away on Nov. 8 at the age of 80 from pancreatic cancer.  News reports say Trebek died peacefully at home surrounded by family and friends. 

Trebek was born in Sudbury on July 22, 1940, the son of George Edward Trebek, a chef who had emigrated from Ukraine as a child, and Lucille Lagacé, a Franco-Ontarian.

Trebek's first job was when he was 13 as a bellhop at the hotel where his father worked as a chef.

He attended Sudbury High School (now known as Sudbury Secondary School) — Sudbury Sec actually issued him an honourary diploma in 2019 — and then the University of Ottawa, graduating with a degree in philosophy in 1961.

Trebek began his career at the CBC in 1961. He would go on to read the national news and cover a wide range of special events for CBC's radio and television divisions.

He hosted several TV shows for CBC, including the high school quiz show Reach for the Top.

In 1973, he moved to the United States and worked for NBC as host of the game show The Wizard of Odds, going on to host a number of different series. 

He began hosting Jeopardy! in 1984, and would continue with the show for more than three-and-a-half decades.

In 2013, Trebek hosted fellow Sudburian (and former Northern Life staffer) Reem Fattouh on Jeopardy! as she tested her wits against the other contestants.

“He’s very nice,” Fattouh said at the time. “He told me that in the 30 years that he’s been hosting the show, I was the first contestant from Sudbury that he could recall.” 

Trebek has been awarded six Outstanding Game Show Host Emmy Awards, and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

In 2017, he was named an Officer of the Order of Canada by then Governor General David Johnston.

In March 2019, Trebek announced he has been diagnosed with stage IV pancreatic cancer.

Despite the bleak outlook for that type of cancer, he was in remission by the time Jeopardy! started recording new episodes in the summer.

But the cancer came back, Trebek revealed in September 2019, and a new round of chemotherapy followed.

He said in early 2020 the support from fans helped him to deal with his health crisis.

“People all over America and abroad have decided they want to let me know now, while I’m alive, about the impact that I’ve been having on their existence,” Trebek told ABC News.

“They have come out and they have told me, and my gosh, it makes me feel so good.”

Trebek is survived by his wife, Jean Currivan, and their two children, Matthew and Emily.


A statement of condolence on Trebek's passing was released by City of Greater Sudbury Mayor Brian Bigger Sunday afternoon

"On behalf of the entire City of Greater Sudbury I want to express our condolences to the Trebek family," said the mayor.

"Alex Trebek enjoyed international stardom while still maintaining that northern charm and spirit that followed him wherever he went. Millions of people welcomed him into their homes every night for decades yet when meeting him, you truly felt like he was an old family friend.

"Alex was an amazing ambassador for Greater Sudbury and was truly responsible for putting our city on the map for the world to know. He was loved, respected and he will be missed. However his legacy and memory will long be part of Greater Sudbury's proud history.

"The City of Greater Sudbury will be creating a virtual book of condolences for citizens to leave their messages for the Trebek family, which should be available in the coming days. Flags will also be lowered in Mr. Trebek's memory," said the mayor.



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