Alex Trebek crossed a big item off his bucket list before he died.

A year ago, the beloved “Jeopardy!” host reached out to Don McLean — the singer-songwriter behind hits like “American Pie” and “Vincent” — and asked if he would perform at his annual “Jeopardy!” staff Christmas party.

“Is this even remotely possible. its been a longtime dream of mine,” Trebek wrote in a Nov. 6, 2019, email McLean shared in a news release sent to the Deseret News. “Not sure i even have the budget but didn’t want to not give it a try. Please give me a call. thanks Alex Trebek”

McLean didn’t hesitate. On Dec. 18, he showed up to the Italian restaurant Vitello’s in Studio City, California, and performed a setlist that Trebek personally crafted. At this time, the “Jeopardy!” host was several months into treatment for advanced pancreatic cancer.

“When I arrived at the restaurant, I told Alex what I was planning on performing and without hesitation, Alex pulled out a sheet of paper that he hand wrote my songs on with their lengths, in which, he wanted me to stick to,” McLean said in a statement. “I, of course, obliged and told him it was his show and I would do whatever he wanted me to.

“It was a joyous and sad occasion and I was very touched that my music was that important to him,” McLean continued. “There was not the slightest hint of self-pity or weakness in this man. He was elegant and dignified as you saw him on television.”

A picture of the setlist Alex Trebek crafted for singer-songwriter Don McLean. | Provided by 2911 Media
The beloved face of ‘Jeopardy!’ has died. Inside the life of Alex Trebek
Ken Jennings reacts to Alex Trebek’s death

That would end up being Trebek’s last staff Christmas party. The longtime host died on Nov. 8 at age 80, surrounded by family and friends.

‘They will air as he intended, in his honor’: ‘Jeopardy!’ fans still have more time with Alex Trebek

McLean said he thought of Trebek often after that special Christmas gathering, and called Trebek a person “we all can learn from.”

“I’ll think of him in the future,” he said. “And maybe try to be a little more like him.”