A “Jeopardy!” episode airing next week has taken an emotional turn after one of its contestants, Cindy Stowell, died of cancer at the age of 41 on Monday.
Stowell, a science-content developer from Austin, Texas, taped the quiz show back in August, and the episode is set to premiere on Dec. 13, a “Jeopardy!” spokesperson confirmed. This marks the first posthumous airing of a contestant’s appearance.
“When Cindy Stowell taped her appearance on ‘Jeopardy!,’ she had Stage IV cancer. Competing on ‘Jeopardy!’ was a lifelong dream for Cindy, and we’re glad she was able to do so,” said host Alex Trebek in a statement provided to The Post. “Sadly, Cindy died on Dec. 5. All of us at ‘Jeopardy!’ offer our condolences and best wishes to her family and friends.”
Her death and forthcoming “Jeopardy!” appearance was first announced on Twitter by her longtime boyfriend Jason Hess, who posted that “She was fighting a high-grade fever (which turned out to be a blood infection) and was on painkillers while taping.” Stowell competed with the goal of donating her prize winnings to cancer-related organizations.
“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,” said Hess and her parents, Greg and Carole Stowell, in a joint statement.
Only Trebek and a select group of staffers knew that she was sick. Stowell, who had a Ph.D. in chemical engineering, first passed the online audition test in early 2016, and received an invitation to an in-person audition in Oklahoma City this past summer. She was able to tape three weeks after qualifying, when she informed a show producer that she had recently been told by her doctor that she had about six months to live.