The ‘Jeopardy’ Contestant Who Died Before Her Episode Won $23K for Cancer Research

Alex Trebek and Cindy Stowell
Alex Trebek and Cindy Stowell Courtesy Jeopardy Productions, Inc.

Jeopardy contestant Cindy Stowell — who died of stage IV cancer a week before her episode aired Tuesday, December 13 — won $22,801 during her time on the show.

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The Austin-based science-content developer, who passed away at age 41 Monday, December 5, competed with the intention of having her winnings donated to charity. Stowell's mom, Carole, told the New York Post about her late daughter’s plans in a December 7 statement.

“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,” she said.

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Stowell’s episode marked the first posthumous airing of a contestant’s participation on Jeopardy, which has been on the air since 1964. Show host Alex Trebek paid tribute to Stowell in an touching statement to the New York Post.

“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 newspaper December 7. “Sadly, Cindy died on December 5. All of us at Jeopardy offer our condolences and best wishes to her family and friends.”

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Stowell’s boyfriend, Jason Hess, took to Twitter December 5 to announce his girlfriend’s death. “She was such a badass,” he wrote of Stowell, who filmed her appearance on the show back in August. “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.”

According to the New York Post, only Trebek and a handful of show staffers were aware that Stowell was sick.

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