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 on the set of Jeopardy. Photo:

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.