‘Jeopardy!’ host Alex Trebek cried at his final Christmas party, says Don McLean: ‘There were a lot of tears’

‘Jeopardy!’ host Alex Trebek dead at 80 after battle with pancreatic cancer

‘Jeopardy!’ host Alex Trebek died at the age of 80 after a battle with pancreatic cancer, the show announced.

Alex Trebek’s final Christmas was an extra special one for the beloved “Jeopardy!” host.

The star, who passed away on Sunday at age 80, celebrated his last annual Christmas party with friends and “Jeopardy!” staffers in 2019 with a performance from singer Don McLean.

“Alex asked if I would come and sing for him and his ‘Jeopardy’ family at his annual Christmas party last year,” the “American Pie” singer/songwriter tweeted on Sunday. 

“I was on his ‘bucket list,’ he told me,” the 75-year-old continued. “It was a lovely Italian restaurant near his home. “We planned the show & he apologized for his red complexion which he said the medications gave him. It was a joyous & sad occasion & I was very touched that my music was that important to him. There was not the slightest hint of self-pity or weakness in this man.”

“He was elegant & dignified as you saw him on television,” McLean shared. “Old school for sure & someone who we all can learn from. I thought of him often afterwards & I’ll think of him in the future & maybe try to be a little more like him. May he Rest In Peace.”

Days after the party, McLean told People magazine that Trebek, who was a big fan of his music, cried tears of joy during the performance.

“There were a lot of tears,” said McLean at the time. “The songs can do that. But under the circumstances, there was also a propensity to want to let some emotion out. Everyone is trying to be joyful, but there is this undercurrent of worry.”

Trebek, who presided over the beloved quiz show for more than 30 years, died at his Los Angeles home surrounded by family and friends. In 2019, the Canadian-born host announced he had advanced pancreatic cancer.

In a video posted on March 6, 2019, Trebek revealed his illness and hope for a cure. Trebek said he was joining the 50,000 other Americans who receive such a diagnosis each year and that he recognized that the prognosis was not encouraging.

But Trebek said he intended to fight it and keep working, even joking that he needed to beat the disease because his “Jeopardy!” contract ran for three more years. Less than a week later, he opened the show with a message acknowledging the outpouring of kind words and prayers he’d received.

“Thanks to the — believe it or not — hundreds of thousands of people who have sent in tweets, texts, emails, cards and letters wishing me well,” Trebek said. “I’m a lucky guy.”

The program tapes weeks of shows in advance, and the remaining episodes with Trebek will air through Dec. 25, a Sony spokeswoman said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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