Mike Richards, one of the game show’s executive producers, shared with the “Today” show that Trebek was coherent and not in pain when he passed away early Sunday at the age of 80. He had battled pancreatic cancer for nearly two years.
“He had a swing in his backyard that he loved,” Richards told the NBC show. “He actually rebuilt it earlier this year. He was very handy. I don’t know if a lot of people know that. And even in his book, he described that he wanted his final day to be sitting on his swing next to his wife, Jean, and kind of watching the horizon.”
He added, “The fact that he had a nice final day, I think makes all of us in the ‘Jeopardy!’ family feel much better.”
Richards also described what turned out to be Trebek’s last day taping “Jeopardy!”
“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 maybe the most incredible thing I’ve ever seen,’” he said. “He kind of had his head down and he looked up and said, ‘Well, thank you.’ And that, you knew, when he accepted that, that he was really fighting and it was just so important for him to do this show and to support everything that it means to America.”
His last day in the studio was Oct. 29.
Trebek said in September that he had been responding “exceptionally well” to treatment and hoped to mark his two-year survival in February.
The experimental immunotherapy treatment Trebek received was the same used by former Sen. Harry Reid, of Nevada, in his fight against pancreatic cancer. The 80-year-old Reid said his disease is in remission.
Trebek recently said he had difficult days, calling his wife, Jean, a “saint” for her unwavering support as he faced moments of sadness and depression.
Trebek was the host of “Jeopardy!” since 1984. The quiz show resumed taping in September after shutting down during portions of the coronavirus pandemic.
Jeopardy! producers say episodes featuring Trebek will continue to air through Dec. 25.
*For previous coverage of Alex Trebek, watch the video below.