Thank You, Alex Trebek

By Cancer Foundation on November 10 / 2020


In the hours since we first learned of his passing, it has become abundantly clear what kind of legacy Alex Trebek has left in the world.

As his fans and loved ones alike have expressed, Alex’s many qualities shone as easily through living room screens as they did in person; Alex was inspirational, kind, and warm. Funny. Generous. Intelligent, with a beautiful heart. And while Alex’s exceptional character was easy to observe throughout his decades-long career, it became even more apparent when he was faced with a very public diagnosis of one of the deadliest types of cancer.

As we saw in March of 2019 when Alex first shared his diagnosis with the world, and then again each time he gave a public update about his health, Alex approached the experience with grace, humour and optimism. Perhaps most importantly, Alex was also entirely committed to being honest; he had always been upfront about how poor a prognosis a stage four pancreatic cancer diagnosis offers, and thoughtfully shared how the reality of his experience with cancer was affecting him at each turn. Sometimes he felt incredible hope at discovering a particular treatment was working, and sometimes a setback would leave him overcome by fear. Sometimes he felt well enough to continue sharing his life’s work on Jeopardy!, and sometimes he was confronted by deep pain and sadness from the mental and physical side-effects his treatment was causing.

No matter what he shared, Alex’s honesty offered a glimpse of the reality that millions of people around the world can relate to – the reality of a cancer diagnosis. Cancer is never easy; while Alex always wanted his fans to know he had hope, he also wanted them to know why maintaining such hope could at times be so challenging.

For this commitment to honesty, people all around the world who are facing illnesses like cancer have been grateful. Alex said earlier this year that he wanted to be remembered as someone who was kind to everyone he met. As it turns out, you may not have had to meet him to feel the impact of his kindness.

So as we reflect on the life of an incredible Canadian icon, our thoughts are with Alex’s loved ones and many, many fans all around the world. Rest in peace, and thank you.

– A statement from Cancer Foundation President & CEO Michael Maidment and the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation on the passing of Alex Trebek.

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