'Jeopardy!' contestant dies of cancer just 8 days before episode airs

Cindy Stowell always dreamed of being a contestant on "Jeopardy!" and winning money to donate to cancer-related organizations. She achieved her dream of being on "Jeopardy!", but she died just eight days before the episode airs, the TODAY show reported.

Her boyfriend, Jason Hess, tweeted the news of her death while encouraging others to watch her episode when it airs on Dec. 13 and donate to the Cancer Research Institute in her memory.

Stowell had Stage IV cancer and was on painkillers during the taping of her episode on Aug. 31, TODAY reported. She also was battling a fever that turned out to be a blood infection, according to Hess.

"Competing on 'Jeopardy!' was a lifelong dream for Cindy, and we're glad she was able to do so. All of us at 'Jeopardy!' offer our condolences and best wishes to her family and friends,'' "Jeopardy!" host Alex Trebek said in a statement.

Stowell had initially reached out to "Jeopardy!" contestant producer Maggie Speak with a heartfelt message about her hopes to be on the show.

"Do you have any idea how long it typically takes between an in person interview, and the taping date?" she wrote. "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."

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