Over the years, Daytime Emmy Award winner Alex Trebek has become synonymous with “Jeopardy!”. The longtime host has earned the trust and admiration of countless viewers across the nation.
The widespread love for Trebek means the personal news he shared in March of this year came hard for “Jeopardy!” fans.
“Just like 50,000 other people in the United States each year, this week, I was diagnosed with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer,” shared Trebek.
While the news he broke was devastating, the then-78-year-old’s message maintained a surprisingly positive tone delivered in true game show host form.
“Now, normally the prognosis for this is not very encouraging, but I’m gonna fight this, and I’m gonna keep working,” announced the hopeful host before asking for prayers. “With the love and support of my family and friends and with the help of your prayers also, I plan to beat the low survival rate statistics for this disease.”
Trebek jokingly quipped he had to beat pancreatic cancer since the terms of his contract require him to host “Jeopardy!” for three more years.
While Trebek responded incredibly well to his chemo treatments over the summer, he quickly learned that the course of pancreatic cancer treatment is not a ‘straightforward affair.’
“There are always curves and unexpected events,” the game show host shared on his YouTube channel in September. He explained in so many words that his Stage 4 cancer had again reared its ugly head, requiring him to go back for yet another round of treatments after immunotherapy caused his numbers to “go south, dramatically and quickly.”
Fans across America felt deeply for the beloved host, not the least of which was contestant Dhruv Gaur, who played on Monday night’s episode. The Brown University student wanted to do something special to show Trebek how much he was truly loved.
In the “Jeopardy!” final answer, Gaur gave up all but $5 of his remaining money to send a simple but impactful message to America’s favorite cancer fighter.
The category for the round was ‘‘Famous Phrases’’ and the clue associated with it was, ‘‘In the title of a groundbreaking 1890 exposé of poverty in New York City slums, these three words follow ‘How the.’ ‘‘
With a sheepish grin on his face, Gaur quickly wrote down his answer, thus prompting Trebek’s curiosity as to why he was smiling. The host soon found out as the contestant’s answer was revealed.
It simply read, “What is: We love you, Alex,” accompanied by a drawing of a heart.
Instantly choked up by the unexpected gesture, Trebek replied, “That’s very kind. Thank you,” as an audible “Awww” from the audience echoed in the background.
“Cost you $1,995. You’re left with five bucks,” the 79-year-old added, clearly using every ounce of his strength to stop himself from breaking down on national TV.
The emotionally-charged moment quickly exploded on social media, with “We love you, Alex” trending on Twitter within minutes of the episode airing.
Sorry for west coast spoilers, but I’m really glad I got the opportunity to say to Alex what everybody at the tournament was thinking … 1/n
— Dhruv Gaur (@dhruvg_) November 12, 2019
Supporters called Gaur’s move a “class act” and the “best $1995 ever spent.”
“This will go down as one of the greatest moments in game show history,” one YouTube commenter remarked.
Watch the tear-jerking moment for yourself below, and be sure to keep that Kleenex box handy!