Alex Trebek may have recently told the world he know’s he’s nearing the end of his life, but fans and contestants across the world are making it known they’re not ready for him to go.
Tournament of Champions contestant Dhruv Gaur made that clear on Monday’s Jeopardy! broadcast. He was in last place going into Final Jeopardy and instead of making a Hail Mary wager to catch up, he bet it all on a heartfelt message.
“Drhuv, you’re smiling,” Trebek said. “I like that. Let’s take a look at your response. Did you come up with the right one? No. What is ‘We love you Alex.’”
The otherwise unflappable host, who hasn’t wavered amid a stage 4 pancreatic cancer diagnosis and treatment that can affect his speech, needed to take a second.
“That’s very kind of you, thank you,” he said, taking a beat, then adding as his voice momentarily broke, “Cost you $1,995. You’re left with five bucks.”
The emotion in Trebek’s voice was palpable. One could feel the weight of Gaur’s gesture, guaranteeing his loss to give Trebek a message many across the world, but especially in the tournament were thinking.
“For context, Alex had just shared with us that he was reentering treatment for pancreatic cancer,” Gaur later tweeted. “We were all hurting for him so badly ... I’m really glad I got the opportunity to say to Alex what everybody at the tournament was thinking”
Trebek received the grim diagnosis in March. By May, he announced the cancer’s remission after a round of chemotherapy. But in October, he told a Canadian TV host that his cancer had returned even stronger and he was not afraid to die.
The 79-year-old has hosted the show for more than 35 years and 8,000 episodes. He is supposed to host through 2022, but side effects from his treatment make hosting difficult and he could have to step away sooner.
Fans on Twitter were quick to point out that Gaur might’ve lost the money and the tournament, but he won hearts worldwide and a place in television history.
“Dhruv Gaur may not have won Jeopardy,” Twitter user @nakanoart wrote. “But he won everyone’s hearts with his support for Trebek.”