Alex Trebek delivers powerful message on unity to kick off week of final 'Jeopardy!' episodes

The final episode, airing Jan. 8, will conclude with a tribute to Trebek.

Alex Trebek's final five "Jeopardy!" episodes kicked off with the longtime host delivering a heartwarming message about the importance of unity and compassion during the global pandemic.

"You’ll recall that, about 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," said a smiling and soft-spoken Trebek. "Now, today, a different kind of message. This is the season of giving. 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."

The late Emmy Award-winning game show host challenged the audience, "I’d like you to open up your hands and open up your hearts to those who are still suffering because of COVID-19. People who are suffering through no fault of their own. We’re trying to build a gentler, kinder society and if we all pitch in, just a little bit, we’re gonna get there."

Trebek died of pancreatic cancer on Nov. 8 at age 80.

These last Trebek-helmed episodes were shot in October; the quiz show's producers say he worked up until 10 days before he died. Trebek's final day of filming was Oct. 29, according to a statement from the show.

The final episode featuring Trebek, which airs Friday, will conclude with a tribute to the beloved and legendary television personality.

All-time "Jeopardy!" champion Ken Jennings will take over as guest host starting on Jan. 11.

A search for a permanent successor for Trebek has yet to be officially announced.

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