The news of Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek’s death on Sunday shocked and saddened the world.
Three of the game’s most successful contestants, aka the Greatest of All Time players – Ken Jennings, Brad Rutter, and James Holzhauer – reacted to Trebek’s death from Stage IV pancreatic cancer.
Here’s what they had to say.
Alex Trebek died on Sunday
The beloved host of the long-running game show died Sunday after nearly two years with Stage IV pancreatic cancer. Trebek announced his diagnosis in March 2019 and since that time became an inspiration to millions, facing it with courage and optimism.
He shared in his 2020 memoir, The Answer Is… how he’d come to terms with cancer and to see it with a new perspective.
“I don’t like to use the terms ‘battling’ or ‘fighting’ when talking about cancer,” he said. “It suggests that there are only two outcomes: ‘winning’ and ‘losing.’ If you don’t get well, then you are a ‘loser.’ If you have decided to stop treatment, you have ‘given up.’ That’s nonsense.”
G.O.A.T. contestants react to Alex Trebek’s death
Alex Trebek loved a good game of Jeopardy!, seeing intelligent individuals spar for the most points. As three of the show’s best players, Ken Jennings, Brad Rutter, and James Holzhauer spent a great deal of time on the show set with Trebek and got to know him well. They paid tribute to the game show great yesterday.
Ken Jennings, who was brought on to the Jeopardy! team in September as the show’s new consulting producer, said “Alex wasn’t just the best ever at what he did. He was also a lovely and deeply decent man, and I’m grateful for every minute I got to spend with him. Thinking today about his family and his Jeopardy! family—which, in a way, included millions of us.”
James Holzhauer tweeted, “It was one of the great privileges of my life to spend time with this courageous man while he fought the battle of his life. You will never be replaced in our hearts, Alex.”
And Brad Rutter, another of the greatest players succinctly said on social media, “Just gutted. There will never be another. RIP, Alex, and thank you so much for everything.”
The G.O.A.T. tournament took place in January
While it may seem as though it took place years ago, the Greatest of All Time tournament actually was held earlier this year, prior to COVID-19, in January.
Bringing together Jennings, Rutter, and Holzhauer to compete for the ultimate title in the game show’s history, the tournament in the end belonged to Jennings.
Speaking to USA Today at that time, Rutter said of the game’s winner, “That was the best I’ve ever seen him play and, quite honestly, the best I’ve ever seen anyone play. That Daily Double last night about ‘The Rose Tattoo,’ having to do with characters from Tennessee Williams’, like, ninth most famous play. What can you say? I’m always impressed with him, but this was sort of one step beyond.”