A “Jeopardy!” contestant who died from cancer on Monday will make the show’s first posthumous appearance on the Dec. 13 episode. USA TODAY
Game shows aren’t normally tearjerking affairs but the December 13 installment of Jeopardy! may be an exception.
That’s because it will feature Cindy Stowell, who died of breast cancer at age 41 Monday, just a week before her episode was due to air, the New York Post reports.
“When Cindy Stowell taped her appearance on Jeopardy!, she had stage IV cancer,” host Alex Trebek said in a statement posted to the show’s website. “Competing on Jeopardy!’ was a lifelong dream for Cindy, and we’re glad she was able to do so. Sadly, Cindy died on Dec. 5. All of us at Jeopardy! offer our condolences and best wishes to her family and friends.”
After Stowell passed, boyfriend Jason Hess revealed that during the August taping, “She was fighting a high-grade fever (which turned out to be a blood infection) and was on painkillers.”
He eulogized her on Twitter, writing, “In the early morning hours, cancer took the best friend, partner and pub trivia teammate a guy could ask for.”
Stowell was a certified brainiac who held a doctorate in chemical engineering.
The Jeopardy! team noted only Trebek and a handful of staffers were aware that she was ill. While discussing the timetable between interviews and auditions with a producer, she disclosed that she didn’t have much time left. “The doctor’s best guess is about six months,” she said. “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.”
“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,” her mother Carole Stowell, brother Greg Stowell and Hess confirmed in a joint statement.
The family hopes her admirers will follow suit by making a donation to the Cancer Research Institute.