Jeopardy! contestant with cancer dies week before show airs

Jeopardy! contestant Cindy Stowell, who battled stage four cancer when she competed on the popular game show, died on Dec 5, 2016.
Jeopardy! contestant Cindy Stowell, who battled stage four cancer when she competed on the popular game show, died on Dec 5, 2016.PHOTO: WWW.JEOPARDY.COM

A woman from Texas who competed on the game show Jeopardy! while battling stage four cancer has died just one week before her show is to be aired.

Ms Cindy Stowell died at age 41 on Monday (Dec 5), and the episode is due to air in the United States on Dec 13.

Her winnings, amount unknown, will be donated to cancer research organisations.

Said host Alex Trebek: "When Cindy Stowell taped her appearance on Jeopardy!, she had stage four cancer. Competing on Jeopardy! was a lifelong dream for Cindy, and we're glad she was able to do so."

Ms Stowell, a science content developer from Austin, had dreamt of appearing on the popular game show.

When she passed the online contestant test in early 2016, she was invited for an in-person interview in Oklahoma City.

She reached out to Jeopardy! contestant producer Maggie Speak with this 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 six 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."

After consulting with Jeopardy!'s producers, Ms Speak told her to attend her audition.

Ms Stowell passed the audition, and she was booked for a taping as soon as the show's schedule allowed, which was three weeks later on Aug 31.

Jeopardy! said in a statement: "When Cindy arrived to compete, only a select group of Jeopardy! staffers and Alex knew she was ill. Her opponents were unaware of her condition."

Her family and long-time partner Jason Hess said in a statement: "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."