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Alex Trebek calls on viewers to help 'build a gentler, kinder society' in moving posthumous message

Alex Trebek offered a moving message encouraging viewers to "open up your heart" to those suffering amid the COVID-19 pandemic during one of the last Jeopardy! shows he filmed before his death.

Jeopardy! on Monday started airing the final five episodes that Trebek taped prior to his death in November following a battle with pancreatic cancer, and Monday's show opened with an emotional posthumous message.

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

Jeopardy! had previously aired a Thanksgiving message from Trebek, in which he urged viewers to "keep the faith" because "we're going to get through all this, and we will be a better society because of it."

Trebek's final episode of Jeopardy! was filmed less than two weeks before his death, and executive producer Mike Richards explained Monday the late host insisted that the taping of this week's shows not be canceled even though he had been in the hospital just one week prior.

"He was an absolute warrior," Richards told Today. "And what he was able to do by getting himself back to the set to tape those final episodes ... it was Herculean. He was in enormous pain, he was 10 days away from passing away, and you will not sense any of that in these episodes."

The final episode of Jeopardy! hosted by Trebek will air Friday. Watch his message below. Brendan Morrow