Last week, we reported that Brayden Smith, the five-time “Jeopardy!” champion who was one of the last big winners in the era of Alex Trebek, had passed away at the age of 24. Now, his cause of death has been revealed.
Smith’s family told a local CBS station in his hometown of Las Vegas that Smith died from complications from a surgery. The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that Smith had been in a Nevada hospital for several days before he passed away on February 5.
One week after Smith’s death, his mother Debbie thanked fans for their support.
“The outpouring of love for Brayden is overwhelming,” she wrote on Twitter. “We can’t express how much your beautiful comments are comforting us during this painfully sad time. Thank you.”
The outpouring of love for Brayden is overwhelming. We can’t express how much your beautiful comments are comforting us during this painfully sad time. Thank you. ❤️
— Debbie Smith (@debbieinlv) February 13, 2021
“Jeopardy!” issued the following statement honoring Smith after news of his death broke:
“The JEOPARDY! family is heartbroken by the tragic loss of Brayden Smith. He was kind, funny and absolutely brilliant. Our deepest condolences go out to Brayden’s family. He will be missed.”
In honor of Smith, his family has created a memorial fund dedicated to “furthering the educational aspirations of southern Nevada students.” Yahoo News reported that the fund will be used to support scholarship awards, seminar tuitions, research grants, conference fees, and more.
“Brayden attained a lifelong dream as a five-time champion on the popular ‘Jeopardy!’ television game show,” Smith’s obituary stated. “His appearances were among the last hosted by Alex Trebek, and Brayden was hailed on social media as ‘Alex’s Last Great Champion.’ He was looking forward to competing in the show’s Tournament of Champions.”
“Brayden loved classic and not-so-classic movies,” his obituary said. “He could be explaining the symbolism in Citizen Kane one moment and the comedic timing in Dumb And Dumber the next. He played the saxophone and enjoyed listening to a variety of music, from Duke Ellington, Chet Baker and Miles Davis to the Beach Boys, Steely Dan, and Toto. He was an avid sports fan, cheering on the Detroit Tigers and Vegas Golden Knights.”
“I’m really grateful for everything, all the opportunities that I had,” Smith said after his “Jeopardy!” streak ended, according to Entertainment Tonight. “I was glad that I was able to show what I was capable of.”