Alex Trebek passed away on November 8 at the age of 80 following a battle with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer.
This is the first Christmas his family is spending without the beloved Jeopardy! host.
His widow Jean, who was married to the TV star for 30 years, took to Instagram to reveal she enjoyed the holiday with their two children, daughter Emily and son Matthew.
Sad loss: Alex Trebek passed away on November 8 at the age of 80 following a battle with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer. This is the first Christmas his family is spending without the beloved Jeopardy! host; Alex and his wife Jean in 2019
Time with their kids: Jean, who was married to the TV star for 30 years, took to Instagram to reveal she enjoyed the holiday with their two children, daughter Emily and son Matthew
In a stunning portrait, the two smiled as sunlit, ragged mountains could be seen in the background.
‘Time is too precious to be spent on anything other than kindness. Many blessings of beauty and joy to you and all you hold dear!’ Jean wrote on Instagram.
After Alex’s passing, his wife shared a tender Instagram post.
‘My family and I sincerely thank you all for your compassionate messages and generosity,’ she wrote in her caption. The photo showed the two during their nuptials. ‘Your expressions have truly touched our hearts. Thank you so very, very much. Many Blessings to all, Jean Trebek.’
Family first: Trebek with his family at the Emmy Awards in June 2011. Next to Trebek is his wife of 30 years, Jean, his daughter Emily, his first wife’s daughter, Nicky, and his son Matthew. Trebek was married to Elaine Callei from 1974 until they divorced in 1981
Trebek was cremated and she keeps his ashes in their Studio City, California home, according to The Blast.
Alex recorded an uplifting Thanksgiving message before his death urging America to ‘keep the faith’ saying, ‘We’re going to get through all of this.’
‘High on our list of things to be thankful for this year: Alex’s Thanksgiving message from today’s show. We hope you have a safe and happy Thanksgiving!’
His last episode was recorded on October 29 and it will air Christmas Day.
A goodbye: Trebek recorded an uplifting Thanksgiving message before his death. In his special greeting he urged America to ‘keep the faith’ saying, ‘We’re going to get through all of this’
In the pre-recorded video Trebek shared a message of hope amid the coronavirus pandemic saying, ‘Happy Thanksgiving, ladies and gentleman. You know, in spite of what America and the rest of the world is experiencing right now, there are many reasons to be thankful.’
‘There are more and more people extending helpful hands to do a kindness to their neighbors, and that’s a good thing,’ he said.
‘Keep the faith. We’re going to get through all this and we are going to be a better society because of it,’ he added, pointing at the camera.
Social media users were touched by the message, with one Twitter user saying: ‘Happy Thanksgiving to the wonderful crew of Jeopardy! Alex, we love you, and miss you.’
‘I needed that message from Alex today – it made me cry but some of those tears were definitely happy ones to hear his voice again,’ another Twitter user added.
He worked till the end: In the days leading up to his death the dedicated host continued to film as many episodes as possible. His last episode was recorded on October 29 and it will air Christmas Day
‘Happy Thanksgiving, Jeopardy! It’s amazing that Alex was recording until the end. Will miss him,’ one social media user tweeted.
Jeopardy! producers said Trebek taped 35 episodes in the weeks before his death.
Follow his passing the show’s executive producer Mike Richards said on the Today Show that the quiz show host died painlessly after spending a ‘nice final day’ with his family, just as he always wanted.
‘He had a swing in his backyard that he loved. He actually rebuilt it earlier this year… Even in his book he described that he wanted his final day to be sitting on his swing next to his wife Jean and watching the horizon and he got to do that,’ executive producer Mike Richards said to the Today Show.
The summer: Trebek pictured with his wife Jean right and his family celebrating his birthday on July 22, 2020
‘He was coherent. He wasn’t in pain and the fact that he had a nice final day makes all of us in the Jeopardy! family feel much better,’ Richards added.
Richards said Trebek was admirably devoted to his work, recording episodes even through his pain.
‘He was even better than what you would hope for. He was incredibly hardworking. He cared about this show. He cared about the importance of this show and that it made people want to be smarter. He made being smart cool,’ Richards said.
Richards recalled that Trebek didn’t like being showered with compliments and threw all his energy into hosting the show before his last days.
His early years: Trebek pictured hosting the Canadian equivalent of American Bandstand, a show called Music Hop, in the 1960s
‘On what ended up being our final day taping 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 the most incredible thing I’ve ever seen.“ He kinda had his head down and he looked up and said thank you,’ Richards said.
Above all, Richards said, Trebek was a man devoted to his family.
‘I think the greatest thing about him was how much he loved his family. Of all of the things he did and of all his accomplishments, his greatest accomplishment to him was his family and the love of his life,’ he added.
Trebek announced to the public in March 2019 that he had been diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer, yet he continued to film the show.
He had hosted more than 8,200 episodes of Jeopardy! over 37 seasons.
Trebek was also close with his first wife’s daughter, Nicky. He married first wife Elaine Callei in 1974 and they divorced in 1981.