‘Jeopardy!’: James Holzhauer’s Heartfelt Tweet Marks the Anniversary of Alex Trebek’s Diagnosis Announcement

This past weekend marked the second anniversary of the day Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek announced that he had been diagnosed with advanced pancreatic cancer.

One of the quiz show’s most successful contestants, James Holzhauer, posted on social media his thoughts on the moment he learned of Trebek’s dire situation and how he’s chosen to honor the beloved television personality.

'Jeopardy!' champion James Holzhauer
‘Jeopardy!’ champion James Holzhauer | Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Holzhauer was one of ‘Jeopardy’s winningest players

In 2019, Holzhauer went on a remarkable 32-game run on Jeopardy!, winning $2.46 million in total. The Las Vegas resident got Ken Jennings’ fans a bit nervous that he would break his Jeopardy! earnings record. Holzhauer was seemingly unstoppable but wound up losing that 33rd game.

He now appears regularly on ABC’s The Chase.

The Chase was the first game show I was ever on back in 2014, and I’ve been hoping for this job offer ever since,” Holzhauer told the Las Vegas Review-Journal in 2020. “It will be fun to have a friendly rivalry with [fellow Jeopardy! winners] Ken [Jennings] and Brad [Rutter]. And I’m sure they’ll let me hear it if a team ever beats me.”

Trebek’s sad announcement

The Canadian-born host who died in November 2020 from pancreatic cancer, announced his diagnosis on March 6, 2019 to shocked and distraught fans.

In his memoir The Answer Is…, Trebek discussed the moment he realized that as much as he wanted to keep his diagnosis private, sharing it served a greater good.

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“At first, I was reluctant to share this news with the world,” he wrote. “Basically, I’m a private person, but ultimately, I decided to do so because I wanted to stay ahead of the tabloids. I didn’t want them printing or manufacturing all kinds of crap.

“I quickly discovered,” the father of three continued, “there are millions of people out there who seem to care and who feel I played an important part in their lives. I’ve received boxes and boxes of cards and letters from people around the world offering their support, encouragement, advice, and prayers.”

Holzhauer’s post fondly recalls Trebek

The Jeopardy! champ, who first appeared on the classic answer-and-question quiz show in 2019, tweeted on March 6 his recollection of the day Trebek made the distressing announcement.

“Two years ago today, I was in @Jeopardy’s green room getting ready for my 31st game when legendary producer Maggie Speak delivered a statement from Alex Trebek, announcing he was battling stage 4 pancreatic cancer,” Holzhauer began.

Holzhauer revealed what was going through his mind at the time, which was when he was just about to compete during his 2019 run on the show.

“My first thought: ‘How the hell am I supposed to get excited to play Jeopardy after hearing that diagnosis?’ My next thought, which should have been my first: ‘How the hell is Alex supposed to get excited to host Jeopardy after hearing that diagnosis?'”

Holzhauer launched a fundraiser on the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network through which he’s raised thousands of dollars for pancreatic cancer research: “If you miss Mr. Trebek as much as I do, please consider a donation to my PurpleStride Las Vegas team, ALL IN FOR ALEX. My goal is to raise $8,244, one dollar for each episode of Jeopardy that Alex hosted.”