Jeopardy! contestant Cindy Stowell has died of colon cancer a week before the episode she appears in is due to air, the Daily Mail reports. Stowell was 41-years-old.
Stowell, a science content developer from Austin, Texas, succumbed to her illness early Monday morning, according to her partner Jason Hess. The Jeopardy! episode is set to air next week on Tuesday, December 13.
Cindy’s long-time boyfriend Jason Hess took to Twitter to announce her death, encouraging the public to watch the next episode of the show.
“In the early morning hours cancer took the best friend, partner and pub trivia teammate a guy could ask for. Love you always,” he wrote. “She was such a bada**. She’s going to be on Jeopardy next Tues (12/13). Y’all should watch.”
Stowell passed Jeopardy!‘s initial online contestant test early this year before moving on to the auditions in Oklahoma City.
She revealed to Jeopardy! contestant producer Maggie Speak that she has cancer via an online message prior to her audition. She explained to Speak why she is passionate about competing in the show.
“Do you have any idea how long it typically takes between an in-person interview and the taping date?” Stowell wrote in her message to Speak.
“I ask because I just found out that I don’t have too much longer to live. The doctor’s best guess is about six months,” Stowell wrote.
Before she died, Ms. Stowell requested that her Jeopardy! winnings be donated to cancer research charities.
“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.”
Stowell was worried that she won’t make it in time even if she passed the audition, telling the Jeopardy! staffer that she’d be willing to give up her spot to someone else.
“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 wrote.
The staffers of the show told Stowell to attend her Oklahoma audition despite her worries that she won’t make it in time. They went the extra mile to accommodate her request, telling her that they’ll book her appearance on the show as soon as possible. Before long they booked Cindy for an appearance three weeks after her August 31 audition.
Stowell was already battling Stage 4 cancer when she appeared at the studio for the taping of the episode. Only a handful of staffers including the show’s host Alex Trebek knew that she had cancer.
“When Cindy Stowell taped her appearance on Jeopardy! she had Stage 4 cancer,” Trebek told CNN. “Competing on Jeopardy! was a lifelong dream for Cindy, and we’re glad she was able to do so.”
Cindy Stowell’s family issued a statement after her passing.
“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 brother Greg, mother Carole, and Hess said.
Stowell’s boyfriend said that she was battling a high-grade fever, which was later revealed to be a blood infection. She was already taking painkillers when she competed at the show.
Stowell’s opponents at the game show were not aware that she was battling cancer.
Jeopardy! communications director Alison Shapiro told CNN that it was the first time a contestant in the show has passed away prior to an episode he or she has competed in.
[Featured Image by Ben Hider/Getty Images]