Alex Trebek Wanted to Be Remembered as a 'Loving Husband and Father' Before His Death
Alex Trebek reflected on his legacy and final days in his memoir, which was released in July
Alex Trebek, who died on Sunday over a year after he was first diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer, reflected on his legacy and final days in his recent memoir, The Answer Is...Reflections On My Life, which was released in July.
“My life has been a quest for knowledge and understanding, and I’m nowhere near having achieved that. And it doesn’t bother me in the least. I will die without having come up with the answer to many things in life,” the longtime Jeopardy! host wrote in the final chapter.
“I’m often asked how I would like to be remembered. I don’t think about it much… But I suppose if I had to answer I would say I’d like to be remembered first of all as a good and loving husband and father, and also as a decent man who did his best to help people perform at their best,” he continued.
And while the coronavirus pandemic impacted the way Trebek got to spend his final days with his family, he wasn’t bothered by the prospect of spending his remaining time at home.
“There aren’t that many things available for us to do. Here I am wanting to enjoy what might be the last of my days, and, what, I’m supposed to just stay at home and sit in a chair and stare into space?” he wrote. “Actually, that doesn’t sound too bad.”
“Yep, I’ll be perfectly content if that’s how my story ends: sitting on the swing with the woman I love, my soul mate, and our two wonderful children nearby. I’ll sit there for a while and then maybe the four of us will go for a walk, each day trying to walk a little farther than the last,” he continued. “We’ll take things one step at a time, one day at a time.”
Trebek and wife Jean share two children: son Matthew, 29, a restaurateur in Manhattan, and daughter Emily, 27, who works in real estate in Los Angeles. Trebek also has an older daughter Nicky, 53, from a previous marriage.
In his memoir, the beloved TV star also wrote about the power of prayer.
“The will to survive is so strong in many people. You see it in tragedies all the time, whether it’s earthquakes, tornados, hurricanes, or floods. The people who live, the people who survive, we say, “My God, how did they get through that?” he wrote. “Well, there’s a will to survive, and there’s a lot of luck and a lot of God’s help that comes into play.”
“I don’t think the will to survive is a constant. I think there are moments—and there are certainly moments in my life—when that will to survive disappears and I’m ready to pack it in. Because I understand that death is part of life. And I’ve lived a long life,” he continued. “If I were in my twenties with years ahead of me, I might feel differently. But when you’re about to turn eighty it’s not like you’re missing out on a great many things.”
In a recent interview with PEOPLE, Trebek opened up about how his wife Jean, 56, had been his rock through his cancer battle. "She's kept me alive," he said of his wife of 30 years.
Trebek, who completed his memoir while Jeopardy! was on hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic, previously told PEOPLE in 2018 that while he was "pretty satisfied with my life" he wished he'd had a longer life with Jean. "But hey, 29 years is pretty good!”