Alex Trebek's widow, Jean, thanks fans for 'compassionate messages and generosity'

Gina Vivinetto
·2 min read

Alex Trebek's widow, Jean, is thanking fans for their outpouring of support following the "Jeopardy!" host's death.

"My family and I sincerely thank you all for your compassionate messages and generosity. Your expressions have truly touched our hearts. Thank you so very, very much," she wrote next to a wedding photo of her and Trebek she shared Wednesday on Instagram.

Trebek died Nov. 8 of pancreatic cancer at age 80.

The beloved game show host met Jean, who was 24 years his junior, in 1988. The couple married two years later and welcomed two children together, Matthew and Emily. Trebek also shared a daughter, Nicky, with ex-wife Elaine Callei.

Alex Trebek, Jean Trebek (Kevin Winter / WireImage)
Alex Trebek, Jean Trebek (Kevin Winter / WireImage)

Just months before the Canadian-born TV personality shared news of his diagnosis with fans in March 2019, he opened up to People magazine about how he wished he'd met Jean sooner.

"I'm pretty satisfied with my life," he said at the time. "But my wife, Jean, and I have been together almost 29 years, and I was thinking about President Bush when he died, and all the comments about his life about what a nice guy he is, and how he and his wife had been together 73 years. I thought, oh, my gosh ... if I’d just met Jean in my 20s we could have had a longer life together."

"I guess if I’d met her when I was in my 20s she wouldn’t have been born yet," he joked. "But hey, 29 years is pretty good!"

In July, Jean opened up about Trebek's illness in a candid personal essay in Guideposts. One thing that buoyed her husband's spirits was his continuing to tape episodes of "Jeopardy!"

"Some days it’s a struggle for Alex to get out of bed. But he’s never missed taping a show. That passion for his work — it’s a kind of calling. He truly looks forward to getting to the studio at 5:45 a.m. — so he can do several episodes in a single day. It rejuvenates him," she wrote.

"It rejuvenates me as well," she continued. "With each passing day, I have found so much to be grateful for. Alex’s work. Our kids, our friends, a sunset, a flower blooming in our garden.

"This didn’t have to be a death sentence. It could be a life sentence. A constant reminder of how precious life is," she added. "The smallest things that I once took for granted now carry more meaning. I think that is how God keeps us in the moment. He focuses us with grace."