Alex Trebek Once Gave This Touching Tribute To ‘Jeopardy!’ Contestant Who Died of Cancer
Beloved Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek died of pancreatic cancer on Nov. 8. The 80-year-old star’s passing was announced by the popular game show, which confirmed in its statement that he died peacefully surrounded by his family and friends.
Jeopardy! executive producer Mike Richards gave a touching tribute to Trebek before the first episode since the host’s passing aired on Monday, Nov. 9, saying, “This is an enormous loss for our staff and crew, for his family, and for his millions of fans. He loved this show and everything it stood for.”
While having to bid farewell to Trebek, who hosted the cable TV staple for 36 years, is no doubt the hardest goodbye the show has had to make, the series has aired tributes to deceased contestants in the past.
‘Jeopardy!’ contestant Cindy Stowell died Dec. 5, 2016
In 2016, Trebek took a moment to honor Cindy Stowell, a Jeopardy! contestant who won six games in a row, which aired from Dec. 13 to Dec. 21, 2016. A video message from Trebek at the end of her last episode revealed that Stowell had been living with stage 4 colon cancer during her time on the show, and died on Dec. 5, just one week before her first episode aired.
“For the past six Jeopardy! programs, you folks have been getting to know the talented champion Cindy Stowell,” Trebek said in the tribute. “Appearing on our show was the fulfillment of a lifelong ambition for that lady. What you did not know is that when we taped these programs with her a few weeks ago, she was suffering from stage 4 cancer. And sadly, on Dec. 5, Cindy Stowell passed away. So from all of us here at Jeopardy!, our sincere condolences to her family and her friends.”
‘Jeopardy!’ honored Cindy Stowell again in 2020
Jeopardy! now has select collections of episodes on Netflix. On Feb. 28, 2020, the show honored Stowell once more by adding her episodes to the streaming service. The Cindy Stowell Collection featured the late contestant’s entire six-episode run, during which she won over $100,000, according to The New York Times. She donated her winnings to cancer research.
The collection has since been removed from the platform, as per the show’s deal with Netflix. But Stowell clearly left her mark on the show.
Alex Trebek died Nov. 8, 2020
Like Stowell, Trebek also battled stage 4 cancer. The iconic host announced his diagnosis in March 2019, and kept his millions of fans updated on his health throughout his treatments.
In his tribute on Nov. 9, Richards said Trebek’s remaining 35 episodes would be aired as they were shot, the final one airing on Christmas Day. As he said in his remarks:
“Over the weekend, we lost our beloved host, Alex Trebek. This is an enormous loss for our staff and crew, for his family, and for his millions of fans. He loved this show and everything it stood for. In fact, he taped his final episodes less than two weeks ago. He will forever be an inspiration for his constant desire to learn, his kindness, and for his love of his family. We will air his final 35 episodes as they were shot. That’s what he wanted. On behalf of everyone here at Jeopardy!, thank you for everything, Alex. This is Jeopardy!“
The show has not made any announcements about Trebek’s possible replacement.