The businesswoman, 57, spoke to Savannah Guthrie for an upcoming NBC News special called Inspiring America: The 2021 Inspiration List. “I think right now, talking with you, I’m good. You know?” she told Guthrie, 49, in a clip that aired on Wednesday, April 28. “I’m good. I absolutely have moments of waves of grief that just come over me. I miss him a lot.”
The beloved Jeopardy! host died in November 2020 at age 80 after a nearly two-year battle with pancreatic cancer. He revealed his diagnosis in March 2019 in a video shared via YouTube. “Now, normally, the prognosis for this is not very encouraging, but I’m going to fight this, and I’m going to keep working, ” he said at the time, adding that he planned to keep hosting Jeopardy! for as long as he could. “And with the love and support of my family and friends and with the help of your prayers also, I plan to beat the low survival rates statistics for this disease.”
The Ontario, Canada, native underwent several rounds of chemotherapy and continued taping the game show throughout 2019 and 2020, eventually filming without an audience because of the coronavirus pandemic. His last day in the studio was October 29, 2020, and he died at home on November 8.
Though she admitted to missing him terribly, Alex’s widow said that one of the “blessings” about his health struggle was seeing how much the entire world loved him.
“I think one of the beautiful things, the blessings that came, if you can call it a blessing, was that he got to really see the outpouring of love and admiration that he gave to the world,” she told Guthrie. “And I know that that was in and of itself a huge inspiration for Alex.”
She also addressed the now-famous moment when a contest wrote, “We [heart] you, Alex!” for his Final Jeopardy answer in a November 2019 episode. “That’s very kind of you,” replied the usually stoic host, holding back tears.
“When that contestant wrote that, you know, you could see him, like, ‘Oh, don’t make me cry here but I love it,’” Jean recalled. “And I think that meant the world to him.”
Since The Answer Is author’s death, various celebrities — including Aaron Rodgers, Anderson Cooper and Katie Couric — have filled in for the longtime host, who won seven Daytime Emmys for his 36 years of work on the show. Sony recently announced that George Stephanopoulos, Robin Roberts and LeVar Burton will each do hosting stints this summer.
Inspiring America airs on NBC and Telemundo Saturday, May 1, at 8 p.m. ET.