Dhruv Gaur, 21, appeared on the Tournament of Champions edition of Jeopardy! on Monday night as one of three semifinalists, and rather than writing the correct answer to Alex Trebek‘s final brain-teasing puzzle, the contestant bet $1,995 on a heartfelt note to the host instead.
Gaur wrote: “What is we <3 you, Alex,” leaving him with only $5 out of his potential $2,000 prize total.
When reading out Gaur’s answer to the audience, Trebek, 79, was seemingly caught by surprise as he teared up and stumbled on some of his words.
“That’s very kind, thank you,” he said. “It cost you $1,995. You’re left with $5.”
Gaur garnered a lot of attention online following the broadcast after a clip of the heartfelt moment went viral. He addressed his decision to sacrifice his winnings in a tweet later that evening.
He wrote: “For context, Alex had just shared with us that he was re-entering treatment for pancreatic cancer. We were all hurting for him so badly.”
Since revealing his diagnosis to the public, Trebek has been very open about his struggles fighting the life-threatening disease.
Back in May, he said he was in “near remission,” according to his doctors, though he revealed earlier this month that they have since urged him to undergo a second round of chemotherapy treatment.
The puzzle in question was: “In the title of the groundbreaking 1890 exposé of poverty in New York City slums, these three words follow ‘How the.'”
Both of the other contestants answered correctly with “What is ‘Other Half Lives?'”
“I’m just very grateful I got the opportunity to say what I know everyone was thinking,” Gaur tweeted. “Sending all the love.”
In Canada, an estimated 5,500 people were diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and 4,800 died from it in 2017, according to the Canadian Cancer Society.
According to the U.S. National Cancer Institute, the five-year survival rate for pancreatic cancer from 2008 to 2014 was 8.5 per cent.