Alex Trebek's final Christmas was one for the record, as singer Don McLean helped the Jeopardy! host check an entry off his bucket list before his death Sunday at 80 years old. Trebek celebrated the holidays with friends and Jeopardy! staffers in 2019 in an emotional night, McLean revealed on Twitter following news of his passing.
"Alex asked if I would come and sing for him & his Jeopardy family at his annual Christmas party last year. I was on his 'bucket list' he told me," the "American Pie" singer wrote, adding that the celebration went down at an Italian restaurant close to the host's home. "We planned the show & he apologized for his red complexion which he said the medications gave him," McLean continued, calling the night a "joyous & sad occasion."
Alex asked if I would come and sing for him & his Jeopardy family at his annual Christmas party last year. I was on his “bucket list” he told me.— Don McLean (@donmclean) November 8, 2020
It was at a lovely Italian restaurant near his home. pic.twitter.com/gC6rkKyXFw
"I was very touched that my music was that important to him," the musician added. "There was not the slightest hint of self pity or weakness in this man. ...He was elegant & dignified as you saw him on television. Old school for sure & someone who we all can learn from. I thought of him often afterwards & I’ll think of him in the future & maybe try to be a little more like him. May he Rest In Peace."
Just days after the party, McLean opened up about the experience to PEOPLE, revealing there were "a lot of tears" shed. "The songs can do that But under the circumstances, there was also a propensity to want to let some emotion out," he continued. "Everyone is trying to be joyful, but there is this undercurrent of worry." The worry was, of course, for Trebek's health, as the beloved game show host had been diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer in March 2019. While he originally completed chemotherapy treatments in August 2019, the following month, Trebek announced he would have to go through another round of treatment.
Sunday, Jeopardy! announced on social media that Trebek had died." Jeopardy! is saddened to share that Alex Trebek passed away peacefully at home early this morning, surrounded by family and friends. Thank you, Alex," the show wrote. Trebek is survived by wife Jean and their two children — son Matthew, 29, and daughter Emily, 27 — as well as older daughter Nicky, 53, whom he adopted during his marriage to first wife Elaine Callei.