Alex Trebek died on Sunday at age 80 after suffering from stage four pancreatic cancer

By Gabrielle Chung
November 11, 2020 07:24 PM
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Alex Trebek's wife Jean is speaking out in the wake of the Jeopardy! host's death.

On Wednesday, Jean thanked fans for their support during this difficult time, writing on her Instagram, "My family and I sincerely thank you all for your compassionate messages and generosity."

"Your expressions have truly touched our hearts. Thank you so very, very much," she continued. "Many Blessings to all, Jean Trebek."

The heartfelt post was accompanied by a photo of the couple on their wedding day. In the shot, Trebek wears a white suit as he slips a ring on his wife's finger.

Alex and Jean Trebek
| Credit: Jean Trebek

Trebek died on Sunday at age 80 after suffering from stage four pancreatic cancer.

In January, the television icon reflected on his decades-long relationship with Jean, telling PEOPLE, "I’m pretty satisfied with my life."

Alex and Jean Trebek in 2019
| Credit: Michael Kovac/Getty Images

"But my wife Jean and I have been together almost 29 years, and I was thinking about President Bush when he died, and all the comments about his life about what a nice guy he is, and how he and his wife had been together 73 years. I thought, oh my gosh … if I’d just met Jean in my 20s we could have had a longer life together," Trebek said.

He jokingly added, "I guess if I’d met her when I was in my 20s she wouldn’t have been born yet. But hey, 29 years is pretty good!"

Alex Trebek and wife Jean at the 21st People's Choice Awards in 1995
| Credit: GLOBE PHOTOS/MEDIAPUNCH/SHUTTERSTOCK

The pair met through a friend in 1988, when Trebek was 47 and had been hosting Jeopardy! for just four years. At the time, Jean, then 23, was doing part-time bookkeeping for one of Trebek's friends.

They married in 1990 and had two children together: son Matthew, 29, a restaurateur in Manhattan, and daughter Emily, 27, who works in real estate in Los Angeles. Trebek was also father to older daughter Nicky, 53, from a previous marriage.

"With Jean it just happened," Trebek wrote in his recent memoirThe Answer Is...Reflections On My Life, which was released this summer.

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"Sometimes you look at something, you look at someone, and you know. I mean, you’ve heard stories of people who meet and decide within half an hour; I knew this was going to be the person I’d end up with. With Jeanie that’s how it was. I wasn’t looking for love. But I recognized at a gut level that here was someone who was going to complete me as a human being," he continued.

In a July interview with PEOPLE, Trebek opened up about how Jean had been his rock since his cancer diagnosis in March 2019.

"She's kept me alive," he said of his wife of 30 years. "If it weren’t for Jean, I’d have put myself out of this a long time ago."