"Jeopardy" Contestant Dies of Cancer a Week Before Show Airs

(CBS NEWS) Cindy Stowell knew what she wanted to do before she died: She wanted to go on “Jeopardy!” and donate her prize money to cancer-related organizations. Stowell was able to make her wish come true before she died on Monday. 

The science content developer from Austin passed the online contestant test in early 2016 and was invited for an in-person audition in Oklahoma City. 

At the time, she wrote a heartbreaking note about her cancer diagnosis to the contestant producer: 

“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,” she wrote. “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 tryout spot to someone else.”

Stowell was told that if she passed her audition, she would be booked for a taping as soon as possible. She taped her appearance on Aug. 31. 

“When Cindy Stowell taped her appearance on ‘Jeopardy!’ she had Stage 4 cancer,” Alex Trebek said in a statement. Competing on ‘Jeopardy!’ was a lifelong dream for Cindy, and we’re glad she was able to do so. Sadly, Cindy died on December 5. Our condolences and best wishes to her family and friends.” 

“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 Greg Stowell, Carole Stowell and Cindy’s longtime boyfriend, Jason Hess. 

Stowell’s appearance airs Tuesday.

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