The legendary game show host Alex Trebek, who was best known for hosting “Jeopardy!” since 1984, passed away on Sunday following a long battle with pancreatic cancer. Now, details are coming to light about how Trebek spent his final hours.
“Jeopardy!” executive producer Mike Richards told the “Today Show” that Trebek got his wish of spending his last day alive sitting on a swing in his backyard with his beloved wife Jean, who he was married to for thirty years.
“He had a swing in his backyard that he loved. He actually rebuilt it earlier this year. He was very handy. I don’t know if a lot of people know that,” Richards explained.
“And even in his book, he described that he wanted his final day to be sitting on his swing next to his wife, Jean, and kind of watching the horizon. And he got to do that,” he continued. “He was coherent. He wasn’t in pain, and the fact that he had a nice final day, I think makes all of us in the ‘Jeopardy!’ family feel much better.”
“The fact that he had a nice final day makes all of us in the ‘Jeopardy!’ family feel much better.” – Mike Richards on Alex Trebek pic.twitter.com/Zt61fKaeaN
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) November 9, 2020
Trebek died on Sunday at his home in Los Angeles, California surrounded by his family and friends after fighting stage 4 pancreatic cancer for a year and a half. He is survived by his wife and two children, Emily and Matthew.
Despite his difficult battle with cancer, Trebek kept working right up until his death, filming his last episode of “Jeopardy!” on October 29. Richards was struck that day by the strength and dignity that Trebek showed.
“I knew he was in an enormous amount of pain, and as he was leaving, I saw him at the door and I said, ‘You know, that was maybe the most incredible thing I’ve ever seen,’” Richards said. “He kind of had his head down and he looked up and said, ‘Well, thank you.’ And that, you knew, when he accepted that, that he was really fighting and it was just so important for him to do this show and to support everything that it means to America.”
In the end, Richards thinks Trebek should be remembered as a hard-working consummate professional who loved his family dearly.
“He was incredibly hard-working. He cared about the show. He cared about the importance of the show that it helped people want to be smarter. He made that cool — he made wanting to be smart cool,” Richards said. “The greatest thing about him was how much he loved his family. Of all the things he did and all the things he accomplished, the greatest thing to him was his family and his love of his life.”