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Pat Sajak and Vanna White remember Alex Trebek: 'He is just part of the family'

The "Wheel of Fortune" stars have nothing but kind words for the late "Jeopardy!" host.
Harry Friedman Honored With A Star On The Hollywood Walk Of Fame
Pat Sajak, Vanna White and Alex Trebek in Hollywood, California, on Nov. 1, 2019.David Livingston / Getty Images
/ Source: TODAY

A pair of game show legends are paying their respects to another.

Pat Sajak and Vanna White are speaking out about Alex Trebek and how good he was as a person, both personally and professionally.

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"I knew Alex for almost 40 years, and he's just been a good friend," White told "Entertainment Tonight" on Wednesday. "Through the years, I have gotten to know his wife and his kids and he is just part of the family."

White’s “Wheel of Fortune” co-host, Pat Sajak, also spoke glowingly of the late “Jeopardy!” star.

"Just on a professional level, I have been at this a long time and I really admire what he has done, and he had done so much," Sajak said.

"When I started the show, Alex had already done a half a dozen, maybe more, game shows here and in Canada, he has done a bunch of them, and was always highly professional and was like the perfect match for his show."

White and Sajak were among the legions of fans who mourned Trebek’s death from pancreatic cancer at the age of 80 in November.

“Alex Trebek’s courage, grace and strength inspired millions and awed those of us who knew him,” Sajak wrote in a tweet that has since been deleted. “A tremendous loss for his family, friends, co-workers and countless viewers. I was honored to be a friend and a part of his professional family for all these years. A very sad day.”

White echoed that sentiment in an Instagram post featuring a photo of her with Trebek.

“I will cherish the many memories I have shared with Alex Trebek that date back well before either of our careers took off," she wrote.

"I will always be in awe of the way he faced the battle he fought so valiantly, and I’m devastated to lose my longtime friend. My heart is with his family, friends, co-workers and fans. There will never be another Alex Trebek and he will truly be missed.”

They aren’t the only ones in the game show universe who mourned Trebek’s passing.

“Everybody's walking around in a little bit of a fog, shaken from the whole thing,” “Jeopardy!” announcer Johnny Gilbert told People of how the show’s crew was doing after Trebek’s death. “Part of me left here when Alex left, really."

“He was an absolute warrior,” “Jeopardy!” executive producer Mike Richards told TODAY earlier this week about Trebek’s ability to soldier on through those final episodes that no one knew would be his last before dying.

“It was Herculean," he added. "He was in enormous pain. He was 10 days away from passing away.”

Trebek’s final episodes of “Jeopardy!” that he taped before he died are airing this week, with the last one scheduled for Friday. The episode is expected to feature a tribute to him.

Monday's episode featured Trebek asking people to be kind to those suffering from the coronavirus.

"I'd like you to open up your hands and open up your heart to those who are still suffering because of COVID-19,” he said. “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."

That followed an episode that aired last November after his death in which he reminded viewers to "keep the faith."

Richards says fans will marvel at Trebek during the final episodes.

"You'll watch them and you'll go, 'This guy's as healthy as could be. This is not a sick person at all,''' he told Entertainment Weekly. "He had that much willpower. And we knew how much he was fighting, and that's what made the performance even more impressive."