Jeopardy!'s Alex Trebek Celebrates 79th Birthday with Friends and Family Amid Cancer Diagnosis
The Jeopardy host told PEOPLE in May that some of his tumors have shrunk by 50 percent
Question: Beloved game show host born this day in 1940. Answer: Who is Alex Trebek?
To celebrate his 79th birthday on Monday, the Jeopardy! host rang in his special day at a bash alongside family and friends.
In photos shared by the show’s official social media accounts, Trebek appeared to celebrate in a ballroom, which was adorned with multicolored balloons and filled with multiple tables. In one photo, he posed alongside his wife, Jean Currivan Trebek, and their kids: Emily, 26, and Matthew, 29, plus his older daughter Nicky, 53, whom he adopted when he was married to Nicky’s mom, his first wife Elaine Callei. She’s a production coordinator on Jeopardy! and a singer-songwriter. .
“Today is Alex’s birthday! 🎉 Send him your wishes in the comments below!” Jeopardy!‘s Instagram post said in the caption.
And fans readily complied.
“HBD to the 🐐! 💗” one fan said, with the goat emoji referencing the “greatest of all time” phrase.
“Alex!! You are an institution! I’ve been watching you host Jeopardy since I was a toddler. Many happy returns, thank you for enriching all of our lives,” another fan said in a touching comment.
“I wish nothing but health and happiness for you Mr Trebek! Thank you for all of the love you give us through your fascinating show. Lots of love and happy birthday!” added another.
“It’s kind of mind-boggling,” Trebek, who has been responding well to chemotherapy, told PEOPLE in May. “The doctors said they hadn’t seen this kind of positive result in their memory … some of the tumors have already shrunk by more than 50 percent.”
The longtime game show host credited well wishes from fans as part of his healing process.
“I’ve got a couple million people out there who have expressed their good thoughts, their positive energy directed towards me and their prayers,” he said at the time. “I told the doctors, this has to be more than just the chemo, and they agreed it could very well be an important part of this.”
“I’ve got a lot of love out there headed in my direction and a lot of prayer, and I will never ever minimize the value of that,” he added.
Trebek revealed that he had been diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer back in March. While fans were shocked and saddened by the news, many were quick to rally in his support — and Trebek has been open about expressing his gratitude.
“Hi everyone, I just wanna take a few moments to say thanks to the — believe it or not — hundreds of thousands of people who have sent in tweets, texts, emails, cards, and letters wishing me well following my recent health announcement,” he said in a video shared on Jeopardy‘s Twitter shortly after announcing his diagnosis.
“I’ve heard from former contestants — even Watson, the IBM computer sent me a get well card!” he added.
“Now obviously, I won’t be able to respond to all of you individually but I did want you to know that I do read everything I receive and I am thankful for the kind words, the prayers, and the advice you have offered, and I’m extremely touched by the warmth you have expressed in your comments to me.”
“I’m a lucky guy,” he concluded, along with the caption, “Thank you.”