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Alex Trebek, Jean Trebek
Three years after Alex Trebek lost his battle with pancreatic cancer, his wife of 30 years, Jean Trebek, is determined to keep his memory and legacy alive through a partnership with Stand Up to Cancer.
During Jean's appearance on the Wednesday, Nov. 1 episode of NBC's Today show, the wife of the longtime Jeopardy! host spoke to Savannah Guthrie about her efforts to further advance screenings and treatments for the disease, which has become known as "the silent killer."
"This was something that Alex actually would champion. He loved a good challenge. He was very curious. He loved to know the answers both at Jeopardy! and at home," she shared. "I think this really coincides with his character, his spirit of helping others and finding the right answers."
She also noted that her efforts were therapeutic, telling Guthrie, "I think doing something creative or proactive really helps the healing journey."
Jean was also joined by Katie Couric, who reportedly helped her set up the philanthropic project after losing her sister Emily to pancreatic cancer in 2001 and her first husband John Paul Monahan to colon cancer in 1998.
"We started talking about Alex's legacy and how we could honor him and that's when the idea of this fund came about," Couric added. "Science takes money and that's why we're establishing this."
Alex died on Nov. 8, 2020, at the age of 80, about a year and a half after going public with his stage IV pancreatic cancer diagnosis.
In March 2019, the legendary TV personality opened up about his battle for the first time.
“Just like 50,000 other people in the United States each year, this week, I was diagnosed with stage IV pancreatic cancer,” he announced at the time. “Now normally the prognosis for this is not very encouraging, but I’m going to fight this. I’m going to keep working, and with the love and support of my family and friends, and with the help of your prayers also, I plan to beat the low survival rate statistics for this disease. Truth told, I have to, because under the terms of my contract, I have to host Jeopardy! for three more years! So help me! Keep the faith and we’ll win. We’ll get it done. Thank you.”
Despite the difficult battle, Alex continued to host the game show for more than a year after his diagnosis and throughout his treatment. He also used his platform to speak out about the signs and symptoms of the disease–which includes sudden changes in bowel movements as well as pain in the upper abdomen or back–hoping to encourage others to seek testing and treatment, as well as the harsh side effects of chemotherapy.