'Jeopardy!' Helped Keep Alex Trebek Alive, According to Widow Jean

Late Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek's wife Jean is speaking out about her husband's final days, saying that the show helped keep him alive. In a new NBC special, Inspiring America: The 2021 Inspiration List, which aired on Saturday, Jean sat down to speak with Savannah Guthrie about her husband's legacy, and shared that working for as long as he could is what kept him going. Trebek died in November after having previously been diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer.

"His gift was that he could be very resolute and he knew that the truth will not hurt you," Jean said. "And he wanted to, I think, empower people to move through whatever challenge they had in life with a sense of inner strength, inner dignity, and love." She went on to share that Trebek found strength in remaining the host of Jeopardy during his health battle. "Doing Jeopardy! really gave him a sense of purpose, a reason to wake up in the morning," Jean shared. "And I would say we all need that. We all need a purpose."

Jean went on to say, "I think, Savannah, that I knew his life was going to, on Earth here, would wrap up quickly when he could no longer do the show. But he wanted to finish strong. And he did. And he lived life on his own terms."

Additionally, Jean spoke about the outpouring of support that has Trebek's fans have shown since his death. I think he would have been shocked, honestly," she explained. "I think he knew he was loved and revered, but I don't think to this level."

She continued, "I think that the support and the love that's been shown since he passed has really been on another level. And I think he would have really appreciated it. I think he — I think it would mean a lot to him."

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Finally, Jean also commented on Trebek's charitable work, which included philanthropy and contributing to organizations that helped the unhoused community. "He was deeply grateful to be part of the solution. We both saw the rise of homelessness. Now we have this beautiful bridge house that's being built right now to help people," she said referring to a project that the couple donated money to. Trebek was 80 years old at the time of his death.