The death of long-time Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek has hit close to home in Ottawa, where the Canadian icon made an indelible impact on the city, its institutions and its residents.
Trebek died Sunday at the age of 80 surrounded by friends and family, according to a post from the Jeopardy! show account.
Though the Canadian quizmaster was born in Sudbury, Ont., Ottawa became something of a second home for Trebek, who graduated from the University of Ottawa.
When Trebek received the Key to the City in 2016, he remarked then of his various hometowns that “Ottawa has always been my favourite.”
Mayor Jim Watson recalled bestowing Trebek with the city’s highest honour on Twitter Sunday, calling him “an inspiration to so many” and lauding his “pursuit of knowledge and higher education.”
Watson said the flag outside the Heritage Building at City Hall will be lowered to half-mast until Wednesday evening in Trebek’s honour.
The University of Ottawa also paid tribute to Trebek on Sunday, calling him “one of our most beloved alumni and one of our community’s most passionate supporters.”
His donations to his alma mater helped fund the creation of the Alex Trebek Forum for Dialogue, the Alex Trebek Alumni Hall as well as various challenges, lecture series and awards in his name.
As of Sunday night, bouquets of flowers were being left outside the alumni hall next to the sign bearing his name.
Trebek’s name is also emblazoned on a theatre at the Royal Canadian Geographical Society (RCGS) on Sussex Drive in Ottawa. Trebek served as honorary president of the society since 2016.
In a statement on Twitter, RCGS chief executive John Geiger called Trebek “one of the most important people” in the society’s 90-year history.
Many Ottawa residents also posted tributes on Twitter, recalling, like many others around the world, growing up in front of the TV watching Jeopardy! with their parents. Others posted pictures of Trebek at the annual Panda Game football showdown between his uOttawa Gee Gees and crosstown rival Carleton Ravens.
Trebek’s love of sport was well-documented. He lent a hand to the Ottawa Senators in last month’s NHL draft, announcing the team’s pick of prospect Tim Stützle in the style of a Jeopardy! clue.
In a statement, Sens owner Eugene Melnyk thanked Trebek for his contribution to the team.
“For his legions of fans, Alex’s class and professionalism will endure as will his love for our game. Thank you, Alex, for your legacy. The Senators family and the entire Capital Region will miss you.”