Jeopardy contestant Cindy Stowell died of cancer at the age of 41 on Monday, December 5, one week before her episode is set to air on Tuesday, December 13.
The science-content developer from Austin, Texas, taped her appearance on the long-running quiz show back in August. Stowell’s episode will be the first posthumous airing of a contestant’s participation on Jeopardy, which has been on air since 1964.
Show host Alex Trebek released a statement to the New York Post on Wednesday, December 7, recounting his memories of working with Stowell prior to her death.
“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,” Trebek, 76, told the publication. “Sadly, Cindy died on December 5. All of us at Jeopardy offer our condolences and best wishes to her family and friends.”
According to the New York Post, only Trebek and a handful of show staffers knew that Stowell was sick.
Stowell’s boyfriend, Jason Hess, took to Twitter on Monday to announce his girlfriend’s death, as well as her upcoming Jeopardy appearance. “She was such a badass,” he wrote of Stowell, who competed with the intention of donating her winnings to cancer-related charities. “She's going to be on Jeopardy next Tues (12/13). Y'all should watch.”
He added: “She was fighting a high-grade fever (which turned out to be a blood infection) and was on painkillers while taping.”
Stowell’s parents, Greg and Carole, told the New York Post that making it on Jeopardy was more than just an item on their daughter’s bucket list. “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 in a joint statement with Hess.
One of Stowell’s fellow contestants Bridget McNulty paid tribute to the late competitor via Twitter on Monday. “She taped the same day as me, she was an awesome person and brought a great cheering squad,” she wrote. “Everyone should watch Tuesday.”
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