'Jeopardy' Contestant Dies Week Before Her Episode Airs: It Was Her 'Lifelong Dream' Says Host Alex Trebek

Cindy Stowell from Austin, Texas had Stage IV cancer


A Jeopardy! contestant died of cancer on Monday, one week before her episode was set to air.

Cindy Stowell, a science-content developer from Austin, Texas, lost her battle with Stage IV cancer, according to her boyfriend, Jason Hess, who announced her death on Twitter. She was 41.

“In the early morning hours cancer took the best friend, partner and pub trivia teammate a guy could ask for. Love you always,” he tweeted on Monday.

Hess wrote in another tweet about his late girlfriend’s August filming, “She was fighting a high-grade fever (which turned out to be a blood infection) and was on painkillers while taping.”

Stowell’s episode is set to air on Dec. 13, and will mark the first posthumous airing of a contestant in the show’s history.

“When Cindy Stowell taped her appearance on Jeopardy!, she had Stage IV cancer. Competing on Jeopardy! was a lifelong dream for Cindy, and we’re glad she was able to do so,” host Alex Trebek said in a statement to The Post on Wednesday. “Sadly, Cindy died on Dec. 5. All of us at Jeopardy! offer our condolences and best wishes to her family and friends.”

Stowell only informed a select group of staffers about her illness. After passing the online audition test earlier this year, she received an invitation to an in-person audition in Oklahoma City this summer.

In a message to Jeopardy! producer Maggie Speak, Stowell explained that she had only six months to live.

“Do you have any idea how long it typically takes between an in person interview, and the taping date? I ask because I just found out that I don’t have too much longer to live. The doctor’s best guess is about 6 months,” Cindy shared in a letter obtained by Austin’s KXAN News.

“If there is the chance that I’d be able to still tape episodes of Jeopardy! if I were selected, I’d like to do that and donate any winnings to … charities involved in cancer research. If it is unlikely that the turnaround time would be that quick, then I’d like to give up my try out spot to someone else,” she concluded.

On Aug. 31, Stowell taped her appearance, three weeks after qualifying.

Cindy’s parents, Greg and Carole Stowell, released a statement Wednesday about their daughter to KXAN. “Cindy came on Jeopardy! to play the game she loved and in doing so, she was able to make a contribution to cancer research in the hopes that no one else would have to go through what she did,” they said, also asking that donations be made to the Cancer Research Institute in Cindy’s name.

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