Prepare to ball your eyes out during the Jeopardy! episode set to air on December 13. Cindy Stowell, a 41-year-old woman who was battling stage IV cancer during a taping of the show earlier this year, died Monday, just a week before her episode was supposed to air.
“When Cindy Stowell taped her appearance on Jeopardy!, she had stage IV cancer,” host Alex Trebek said in a statement posted to the show’s website. “Competing on Jeopardy!’ was a lifelong dream for Cindy, and we’re glad she was able to do so. Sadly, Cindy died on Dec. 5. All of us at Jeopardy! offer our condolences and best wishes to her family and friends.”
Durng her initial interview Stowell, who had a doctorate in chemical engineering, told producers that she didn’t have much time left. “The doctor’s best guess is about six months,” she said. “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.”
Stowell’s boyfriend Jason Hess also commented on the passing, saying that while she was taping the show in August, Stowell was “fighting a high-grade fever (which turned out to be a blood infection) and was on painkillers.”
Earlier this week, he paid tribute to her memory in an emotional Twitter post. “In the early morning hours cancer took the best friend, partner and pub trivia teammate a guy could ask for,” he wrote. “Love you always @nanocindy.”
“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 mother Carole Stowell, brother Greg Stowell and Hess added in a joint statement.
Jeopardy! fans are in for a heavy episode come December 13. RIP Cindy Stowell.