Canada mourns its home-grown international icon

Nov 9, 2020

Tributes continue to pour in for popular "Jeopardy" Host Alex Trebek, who died over the weekend at the age of 80. Fans, celebrities and politicians across the continent are mourning the Canadian-born broadcaster from Sudbury, in northern Ontario.

There has been an outpouring of grief over the death of Trebek, who has hosted the "Jeopardy" game show since 1984.

Trebek had been battling Stage 4 pancreatic cancer after announcing the diagnosis in March of last year.   While continuing to host the show, he underwent chemotherapy.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted that Canada has lost an icon. Other political leaders in Canada also offered condolences, as did fellow Canadians, actors Ryan Reynolds and William Shatner.

Just before he died, Alex Trebek published his autobiography.
Credit Simon & Schuster / NPR News

Trebek got his start as a broadcaster in Ottawa. Here is some of an interview he gave to the CTV network about his cancer diagnosis.
"I want to be open with people and I don’t want to be a victim of the tabloids, because they have a way of misrepresenting everything, which they have done in my situation also," Trebek said. "So I believe in being forthright, being open. I think if you are that way with the audience, they will take you into their hearts and they will love you even more.”
In his hometown of Sudbury, flags flew at half mast and in Ottawa, Mayor Jim Watson remembered Trebek.
"Giving him the key to the city was our recognition of what a great humanitarian he was and how generous he was to so many good causes,” Watson said.
After his death, the University of Ottawa, where he studied, set up a virtual condolence book for people to leave their memories and messages.
On social media, the host of the "Wheel of Fortune," Pat Sajak said of his longtime pal that "Alex Trebek’s courage, grace and strength inspired millions and awed those of us who knew him." Carrie Ann Inaba, a judge on "Dancing with the Stars" said, "the light of life dims with the loss of one of the brightest lights....Alex Trebek you will be missed dearly."
Michelle Cabral is a former "Jeopardy" contestant from Toronto and first ran into Trebek during Toronto auditions for the show.
“He answered questions with us for 20 minutes," Cabral said. "We got to chat with him, we took pictures with him. It was unbelievable.  I don’t think anyone could have predicted that happening at auditions. He always made you feel like what you had to say and what you had to ask him was truly important.”
Trebek was a six-time Emmy Award winner, a Guiness World Record holder and an officer of the Order of Canada. Trebek's last episode of "Jeopardy" will air on Christmas Day.