Alex Trebek was fighting until the end.
On Monday, “Jeopardy!” producer Mike Richards appeared on the “Today” show to talk about the late host’s final week of episodes, airing Jan. 4 to 8.
Richards revealed that Trebek was actually in the hospital the week before taping his final episodes.
“The week before we taped those episodes, he was in the hospital,” Richards said. “This man was unbelievable. He calls me and he said, ‘Mike, I’m going to be fine. I’ll be in to tape. I was able to eat Jello today.’”
“He was an absolute warrior.”
“Jeopardy!” executive producer Mike Richards reflects on Alex Trebek’s legacy and final episodes. pic.twitter.com/VCiPERxKgt
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) January 4, 2021
Richards recalled telling Trebek “‘that doesn’t mean you’re going to be ready to host five episodes of a game show,’ which is an enormous amount of effort, and he said, ‘Do not cancel. I will be there.’”
Trebek passed away only days later, on Nov. 8, at age 80.
The episode airing this week will also feature Trebek’s final speech to his audience, Richards said.
“What he did on tonight’s show is just a great testament to him. He comes out. He usually said something about what was happening in the news or about what game play had been happening,” he said. “And in this very special, unbelievable final week, he comes out and gives a talk about the importance of togetherness and sticking together and that the world is struggling, but we have to get through it together.”
He continued, “Usually in his monologue, he would come out, give a statement and then go to the categories,” the executive producer described. “We all burst into applause. And you don’t see it on camera, but as he’s going to the categories, he sees us start to applaud and he kind of looks at us like, what are you guys doing? And, we were so moved that we had to applaud.”