Billiard Legend Jeanette ‘Black Widow’ Lee Diagnosed With Stage 4 Ovarian Cancer

Billiard Legend Jeanette ‘Black Widow’ Lee Diagnosed With Stage 4 Ovarian Cancer

February 19, 2021
Legendary female professional billiard player Jeanette “Black Widow” Lee is now undergoing treatment following her Stage 4 ovarian cancer diagnosis.
Heartbreaking news: The 49-year-old professional billiard player said she intends to fight the disease with the same resolve she showed in her sport, according to American Poolplayers Association.
View post on Twitter
  • “I intend to bring the same resolve I brought to the billiards table to this fight,” Lee said. “Jim Valvano so eloquently told us to ‘Never give up’. I owe it to my three young daughters to do exactly that.”
  • The prognosis is dire, according to a GoFundMe campaign set up by Tom George, Lee’s longtime agent, adding that her cancer has already metastasized into her lymph nodes.
  • “At this stage, her doctors say she has a few months to a year left to live,” the campaign reads. “In typical Black Widow fashion, she has vowed to fight the progress of her disease as fiercely as possible with both chemotherapy, which has already begun, and a succession of upcoming surgeries.”
Subscribe to
NextShark's Newsletter

A daily dose of Asian America's essential stories, in under 5 minutes.

Get our collection of Asian America's most essential stories to your inbox daily for free.

Unsure? Check out our Newsletter Archive.

  • Lee stopped playing billiards in 2010 because of the scoliosis she had since childhood, and her previous condition may have had a role in masking the spread of cancer through her body, The Washington Post reported. She has undergone 19 surgeries in the past for scoliosis.
  • “She’s in a lot of pain all the time, anyway, so she didn’t notice any difference,” George told the publication.
  • Lee said she objected to the news release’s use of “terminal cancer” as she “intends to beat it.”
Rise to fame: Lee began playing billiards in 1989 and became a professional in the sport in 1991. Three years later, she was named the Women’s Professional Billiard Association’s player of the year.
  • Lee, who is originally from Brooklyn, New York, and of Korean descent, has the top mark in the sport and has earned more than 30 national and international titles, Today reported.
  • She has also been the spokesperson for American Poolplayers Association (APA) since 2009.
  • “It started at this pool room in New York, the Howard Beach Billiard Club,” Lee told ESPN, explaining how she got her iconic nickname “The Black Widow.”
  • “The owner of the room, this guy Gabe, said when I first walked into the room, I was so mysterious and pretty and quiet and nobody knew who I was. Then I just walked up to the table and started whamming balls all over the place,” Lee added. “From that point on, just teasing, he called me the Black Widow. It was just our little nickname. But then it came up once in an interview with the New York Times and, even though it was supposed to be off the record, they wrote about it. And once it was in the media, it took off.”
Feature Image via Getty
      Bryan Ke

      Bryan Ke is a Reporter for NextShark




      Many people might not know this, but NextShark is a small media startup that runs on no outside funding or loans, and with no paywalls or subscription fees, we rely on help from our community and readers like you.

      Everything you see today is built by Asians, for Asians to help amplify our voices globally and support each other. However, we still face many difficulties in our industry because of our commitment to accessible and informational Asian news coverage.

      We hope you consider making a contribution to NextShark so we can continue to provide you quality journalism that informs, educates, and inspires the Asian community. Even a $1 contribution goes a long way. Thank you for supporting NextShark and our community.

      © 2023 NextShark, Inc. All rights reserved.