Exceptional 'Jeopardy!' Winner Dies One Week Before Show Airs

"Competing on 'Jeopardy!' was a lifelong dream for Cindy, and we’re glad she was able to do so. Our condolences and best wishes to her family and friends," host Alex Trebek said.

When Cindy Stowell competed on "Jeopardy!" at the end of August, only a few of the show's employees knew she had Stage 4 cancer, including host Alex Trebek.

It was Stowell's dream to play on the show — one that came true just a few months before she passed away on Dec. 5, The Huffington Post reports.

According to the Jeopardy! website, Stowell was a science content developer from Austin, Texas. Over the summer, she auditioned for the show in Oklahoma City, and she sent contestant producer Maggie Speak an extraordinary message:

"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. 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."

Three weeks after the audition, she was able to tape the episodes. It was revealed by her boyfriend, Jason Hess, that she was battling a fever while competing, which was later determined to be a blood infection. 

The first episode aired on Dec. 13, and Stowell took home $22,801. The next day, she defended her winnings and collected a grand total of $31,000, which she's giving to charity. 

"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," Greg Stowell, Carole Stowell, and Hess said in a statement. 


Banner Image Credit: YouTube screengrab, Channel Americans

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