News that "Jeopardy!" host Alex Trebek has been diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer has struck a chord with fans around the world, including some who might prompt a question from others: What is the Musk Ox Farm in Palmer?

Trebek family visits the farm - Courtesy Musk Ox Farm

Trebek has a long history with the nonprofit farm starting in the late 1980s or early 1990s according to Mark Austin, its current director. Trebek has visited on several occasions, most recently in 2013 and 2015 when he brought his family. Trebek has said he considers the musk ox his "spirit animal."

Alex Trebek sitting with the Musk Ox

"You can tell how enamored he is with these creatures when he visits," Austin said. "The first time he just sat down in a pasture and took it all in. He was so just wanting to be near them and watch them, and just be a part of their world for a little while."

Austin said Trebek is a big financial supporter of the farm, donating $10,000 annually for the last several years. He also personally signs every certificate the nonprofit issues when someone "adopts" an animal.

Alex Trebek signs every adoption certificate

"He's just a great guy," Austin said. "He's a kind and generous man. He's just kind of fun to spend a few hours with."

Austin called the news that Trebek is struggling with a serious illness "devastating." He hoped that the "Jeopardy!" host's diagnosis is far from final, however, because he's a lot like his spirit animal.

"Heart of a musk ox, tough as a musk ox," Austin said.

Austin is hoping those qualities will help Trebek in his fight.

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