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Former Maine 'Jeopardy!' contestant reacts to host Alex Trebek's death

Dennis Coffey walked away with more than $50,000 a year ago Wednesday.

OLD ORCHARD BEACH, Maine — Alex Trebek, the beloved 'Jeopardy!' host, died earlier this week after a battle with pancreatic cancer.

"He never called in sick. He was filming right up to the very end," former Jeopardy! contestant Dennis Coffey said.

Coffey was a contestant on the game show a year ago Wednesday.

"The whole thing was kind of surreal," said Coffey.

The Old Orchard Beach resident walked away with more than $50,000. He said it was a tough loss.

"I wasn't really the best sport. I missed the last Jeopardy! question. I pouted," said Coffey.

RELATED: Portland man wins on ‘Jeopardy!’

Coffey said he sent Trebek a Christmas card to apologize. Trebek wrote this back:

"Dear Dennis, thank you for your card. Please know I have no negative memories of you on the show and I wish you nothing but the best. Alex Trebek."

Coffey said Trebek leaves behind an amazing legacy and said it will be tough for someone else to fill his shoes.

"Alex wanted to be remembered as a good guy. No worries there. He will be remembered as a good guy," Coffey said.