Beth Chapman died on June 26 at the age of 51 due to complications from throat cancer

By Christina Dugan
November 28, 2019 09:00 AM
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Duane “Dog the Bounty Hunter” Chapman is spending his first Thanksgiving without late wife Beth Chapman.

The Dog’s Most Wanted star began the holiday Thursday morning by wishing his followers a “HAPPY THANKSGIVING” on Instagram, sharing a stock image of a Thanksgiving feast.

On his Instagram Story, he linked to a post from costar Rainy Robinson informing fans about a memorial scholarship set up in Beth’s honor.

“For those of you that don’t know, A Beth Chapman Memorial Scholarship non-profit was established in her honor,” the post from Robinson read. “This scholarship is designated for those wanting to complete their GED/HiSet test. http://www.mrsdog.org Please share. ❤️ #ThisOnesForBeth #DogsMostWantedSeason2”

Duane, 66, told PEOPLE earlier this week that he would be in charge of cooking the turkey this year, joking, “I hope there is a guide on YouTube!”

“Several family members are coming for the meal and my children are all freaked out because I’m cooking,” he said. “The daughters will be bringing other dishes to go with the turkey. We always realize what the day of Thanksgiving means, so we all talk about the main thing we are thankful for.”

“We also have an award we give out, which is called the Butthole of the Turkey award and it goes to the most difficult child of that previous year,” he continued, adding that it would be going to his son Garry this year.

Duane, who was hospitalized for a heart issue in September, said he is “feeling much better, health-wise.”

“I will never, ever be the same emotionally, because there’s a huge piece of my heart that isn’t there anymore,” he admitted. “But I have to remain Dad and the Dog.”

Credit: Getty Images

Beth, who was diagnosed with stage II throat cancer in September 2017, died on June 26 at the age of 51.

In September, Duane learned he was suffering from a pulmonary embolism in the heart — a “life-threatening” condition in which one or more arteries has been blocked by blood — during an episode of The Dr. Oz Show. Though wary of doctors and hospitals, he eventually agreed to seek treatment.

“I hesitated for a minute thinking, I don’t want to have to go through this again,” he told PEOPLE at the time. “I don’t want to die right now. I’m not afraid to die anymore, but I really didn’t care for awhile if something would happen. I do care now.”

RELATED: Duane ‘Dog’ Chapman Reveals Dog’s Most Wanted Won’t Be the Same Without Beth

On the finale of Dog’s Most Wanted earlier this month, viewers saw the raw moments the Chapman family shared in the days before and the hours after Beth’s death.

In an emotional home footage clip, Duane’s daughters ⁠— Lyssa, Bonnie and Cecily ⁠— were at a loss for words hours after her death.

“It feels like it’s not real,” said Lyssa, one of Duane’s children with his third wife, Lyssa Brittain.

“We’ve prepared for this for a while,” Duane told her. “I don’t care how much you prepare, it’s tough.”

The family has honored Beth at a gathering with friends and fans at Fort DeRussy Beach in Waikiki, Hawaii, as well as at an emotional memorial service at the Heritage Christian Center in Aurora, Colorado.