Alex Trebek called for a "gentler, kinder society" in one of his final "Jeopardy!" episodes.
Trebek opened Monday's episode of the long-running game show with a heartfelt message of community and togetherness amid the coronavirus pandemic. The episode was taped in late October, according to a press release, weeks before Trebek's November death of pancreatic cancer. He was 80.
© Carol Kaelson, AP
Longtime Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek.
"You’ll recall that a month ago, I asked all of you to take a moment to give thanks for all of the blessings that you enjoy in your lives," Trebek said. "Now today, a different kind of message: This is a season of giving."
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He continued: "I know you want to be generous with your family, your friends, your loved ones. But today I’d like you to go one step further, I’d like you to open up your hands and open up your heart to those who are still suffering because of COVID-19, people who are suffering through no fault of their own."
Trebek said we could "build a gentler, kinder society" if "we all pitch in just a little bit."
His message served as a New Years greeting for viewers, although the episode was originally supposed to air before Christmas.
"Jeopardy!" executive producer Mike Richards told NBC’s "Today" ahead of the episode's premiere that Trebek's powerful message gave him "chills."
"He comes out and gives this absolutely amazing speech about the tough times that we are in and the importance of us as a country, as a community… coming together and being there for each other," Richards told the outlet.
Richards wasn't the only one moved by Trebek's final thoughts.
"Even at the very end, Alex Trebek remained a man of grace and kindness, reminding us all how important it is to genuine(ly), actively care for one another," tweeted fan @cspotweet. "This week's episodes are going to be difficult to watch- tissues ready to go- but thrilled we have one more week with you, Alex."
User @edutt88 added: "Even while Alex was in unspeakable pain, he called on us to open our hearts and hands to others who are suffering. This world needs more like him."
User @Matt12r appropriately tweeted, "What is: We Will Miss You Alex."
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Friday's episode will mark the final episode with Trebek at the helm and will feature a special tribute to the beloved game show host. Trebek hosted more than 8,000 episodes of "Jeopardy!" since 1984.
The game show will continue airing new episodes Jan. 11 with "Jeopardy!" champion Ken Jennings as guest host.
Contributing: Patrick Ryan
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Alex Trebek gives heartfelt message on COVID-19 in one of his last ‘Jeopardy!’ episodes