Jeopardy contestant dies before episode airs

Next Tuesday’s episode of Jeopardy, the TV game show, will feature a contestant who is dead. The first time the game show has aired a segment posthumously.

Cindy Stowell, a science content developer from Austin, Texas, died this week, months after she taped her appearance in August, promising to donate any winnings to cancer research.

Appearing on Jeopardy was a life-long dream, host Alex Trebek said. He knew about her condition. Other contestants did not.

She passed an online qualifying test, but then sent this message to the contestant producer, according to KXAN TV.

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.”

Jeopardy welcomed her to a qualifying contest in Oklahoma and, when she made it to the show itself, promised to get the episode on the air as soon as possible.

“She was fighting a high-grade fever (which turned out to be a blood infection) and was on painkillers while taping,” her boyfriend tweeted.

“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 parents said in a statement yesterday that also asked that donations be made to the Cancer Research Institute in Cindy’s name.

She was 41.

  • Anna

    The sad but wonderful thing about Cindy’s appearance on Jeopardy is that her family will have those memories of Cindy to look back upon with pride but it will be a constant reminder of what they have lost.

    41 years old is in the prime of life and so many young lives are taken by that stealth monster, cancer. With all of our technology and scientific study it is the one disease we have not been able to fully conquer.

    Jeopardy fulfilled a dream of a lifetime and they are to be commended for making her wish come true.

    Condolences to her significant other and especially her family and her friends and colleagues. May the miracle of her appearing on Jeopardy ease your sadness and give you joy in the coming months and years.

  • John O.