Cindy Stowell’s inspirational Jeopardy! winning streak came to an end Wednesday.
The Stage 4 colon cancer victim, who passed away Dec. 5, just over a week before her appearances on the game show began to air. She reeled off six consecutive wins before finally being bested.
Before dying, Stowell promised to donate her $103,803 in winnings to the Cancer Research Institute, according to the New York Times.
Jeopardy! said in a statement that only a select group of the game show staff, including host Alex Trebek, knew Stowell was ill. Her opponents, however, did not.
“She really saw it as a personal challenge to test herself in this forum that she watched and loved,” longtime boyfriend, Jason Hess, told the New York Times. “She said going in that her main objective was not to embarrass herself. Clearly, she achieved that.”
Cindy's biggest fear going in was that she would get caught on minor pronunciation errors. Was clean to this point, but 2x today. Uh oh…
— Jason (@habcous) December 22, 2016
Trebek paid tribute to Stowell during Wednesday’s airing.
“Appearing on our show was the fulfillment of a lifelong ambition for that lady,” he told viewers. “From all of us here at Jeopardy!, our sincere condolences to her family, and her friends.”
One of Stowell’s opponents spoke kindly of her on Twitter.
Was disappointed to lose at the very end, but now so happy Cindy's research fund legacy is in 6 digits. She is queen! #Jeopardy
— Julia Kite (@juliakite) December 21, 2016
The man who ended her run, Sam Scovill, paid tribute to her boyfriend on Twitter.
I'd like to give thanks to @habcous for his graciousness during a very difficult time. Can't put into words how great of a person he is.
— sam scovill (@samnotscott) December 22, 2016
Earlier this year, Stowell, a science content developer from Austin, Texas, passed the online contestant test and moved onto the next round – an in-person audition in Oklahoma City, Okla., according to a statement from the game show.
However, before appearing in person, Stowell received some horrible news, forcing to her to inquire about the timing of the audition and possible taping.
“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,” Stowell wrote to Jeopardy! contestant producer Maggie Speak. “The doctor’s best guess is about 6 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.
— Jason (@habcous) December 5, 2016
“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 wrote.
According to the game show, Speak told Stowell to attend the in-person audition and if she qualified, the game show would be booked for a taping as soon as possible.
On Aug. 31, Stowell fulfilled her dream.
Cindy qualified for a Tournament of Champions she wouldn't live to see. In 2016 "bittersweet" is the best we can do. https://t.co/hvujLuBZtt
— Ken Jennings (@KenJennings) December 21, 2016
Hess and Stowell’s family issued a statement through the game show, saying she played “the game she loved.”
“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 family said in the statement.