Almost immediately, fans began pouring out messages of support and encouragement on social media. The news hits especially close to home for staff and Fellows of The Royal Canadian Geographical Society, of which Trebek is Honorary President and a long-time supporter.
“It is impossible to overstate the importance of Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek to [the RCGS],” CEO John Geiger said. “He has received two Society medals, as well as being named our Honorary President, effectively serving as the Society’s inspirational leader. His incredible support also made it possible for RCGS to make 50 Sussex our new headquarters … I hope you will join me and all of us at RCGS in praying for the quick and full recovery of this great Canadian, great friend of geography and great gentleman.”
Trebek, a native of Sudbury, Ont., has been an international household name since first appearing on Jeopardy!’s 1984 season — but his support for student programs and humanitarian work has gone all but unknown to millions of his fans. “I love working with young people,” he has said on more than one occasion, “and seeing how bright these young geographers are.”
He told finalists in the Canadian Geographic Challenge that to understand and react to current events — from elections to environmental disasters to war — we must have a strong grasp of the geography of our country, our continent, our planet: “All events are geographic,” he says. “They affect us directly.”