Toward the end of his life, late “Jeopardy!” host Alex Trebek was happy with his job, happy with his marriage and happy with his kids. There was just one thing he wished he could change.
The legendary “Jeopardy!” host died on Nov. 8, 2020 of stage 4 pancreatic cancer. He was 80 years old. Trebek is survived by his wife Jean, son Matthew and daughter Emily.
Trebek told People in January of 2019 that he wished he had met Jean earlier in his life, so they could have had more time together.
‘Jeopardy!’ Host Alex Trebek Had Heartfelt Wish About His Wife
Trebek told People he was “pretty satisfied” with his life thus far. But he said that one poignant wish had stuck with him ever since President George H.W. Bush’s death.
“My wife Jean and I have been together almost 29 years,” Trebek said. “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.”
Trebek met Jean Currivan at a New York City party in 1988. She was a real estate project manager at the time. Later, Trebek invited Jean over to his house for dinner.
Jean told People she was “really nervous” about dating the host of “Jeopardy!”. “I was afraid I’d mispronounce my own name!” she said. “But Alex is really down to earth. He’s much more casual than he is on the show.”
Trebek proposed on Jean’s 26th birthday the following year. The couple married in 1990.
The Couple Fought Trebek’s Cancer Together
In March of 2019, Trebek shared his cancer diagnosis with the world. The news had been a significant blow to the “Jeopardy!” host, whose doctors told him pancreatic cancer has a 9% survival rate.
But the news was equally devastating for Jean. And Trebek acknowledged in May of 2019 that his cancer had been hard on her.
“My heart goes out to caregivers,” he told People then. “Because they have to deal with their loved ones suffering and they also don’t always know how to help because there’s not much they can do, except try to make you feel more comfortable, at ease and not worry about ordinary stuff. They’ve also got to be strong and not allow their mate not to feel like they’re downhearted too.”
In July of 2020, Jean wrote a piece in Guideposts, a Christian magazine, about dealing with Trebek’s cancer diagnosis. She said that some days she felt sad and angry about the turn of events, but she managed to pull herself out of negative emotions by taking care of someone else, from friends to family to Trebek himself.
“We’ll sit in the swing in our backyard and sway to and fro, feeling the warmth of the sun, gazing at the flowers or up at the sky, knowing we are loved,” Jean wrote then. “Not just by each other but by a God who will see us through all things.”