Alex Trebek knew how he wanted to spend his final day on Earth and got to fulfill his dying wish on Nov. 8, when he took his last breath at age 80 following a battle with pancreatic cancer. "Jeopardy!" Executive Producer Mike Richards shared with "Today" that Trebek was with his wife Jean, sitting on a swing in their backyard and watching the horizon on the day that he died.
"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 and he got to do that," Richards said in a short video clip of his appearance shared to Twitter Monday.
"He was coherent, he wasn't in pain and the fact that he had a nice, final day makes all of us in the 'Jeopardy!' family feel much better," he added.
In a separate video clip, Richards recounted a moment when Trebek walked out to host "Jeopardy!" without wearing pants.
"He wanted the contestants to perform at their highest level and he reveled in a great 'Jeopardy!' game when it was competitive," Richards explained. "Those are some of our best contestants of all time there. There was an enormous amount of tension on the set. They all knew there was a lot on them to perform and that just goes to show that he had an incredible sense of humor but also how important it was to have a great 'Jeopardy!' game. He loved that. He'd get to the end of the show and say, 'Boy, wasn't that great?' and he'd look right at the contestants and say 'thank you.' And that just sums him up."
Countless tributes have been pouring in since news of Trebek's death broke. Among those honoring his memory was "Jeopardy!" star Ken Jennings, who shared one of the most valuable lessons he learned from the game show's host.
"I was backstage with him at a tournament and it was before the cancer diagnosis, but he was having a rotten day. He was just feeling lousy. But then the music turned on and the announcer said his name and he just turned him to Alex Trebek and walked out there," Jennings recalled during an interview with Fox News published Monday.
"I asked him about it later and it was not a performance. You know, he's somebody who actually feels best and is at his most confident and capable when he's doing his job when he's hosting 'Jeopardy!' because that's the thing that he has made himself the best in the world at over the last 37 years," Jennings continued. "I really admire that ... just the idea that the thing you love, the place where you feel like you're at home, can keep you going."
It was a lesson Jennings never forgot.
"I think about that day not just when I'm on TV, but when I'm doing anything," he said, "working on a book or when I'm doing an interview, you know, I just kind of think, 'How would Alex treat this?'"
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