Brayden Smith, a five-time “Jeopardy!” champion, has died at age 24, his mother confirmed in a tweet on Friday.
According to an online obituary published by the Las Vegas Review Journal, Smith died in Las Vegas, Nevada, on February 5. The outlet reported that he was “hospitalized for days” prior to his death.
His family did not release a statement on cause of death.
“We are heartbroken to share that our dear Brayden Smith recently passed away unexpectedly,” his mother wrote, continuing, “We are so grateful that Brayden was able to live out his dream on @jeopardy.”
— Debbie Smith (@debbieinlv) February 12, 2021
Past ‘Jeopardy!’ champions paid tribute to Smith
“Jeopardy” honored the champion, who CNN reported won $117,798 on the show, in a tweet on Friday.
“The JEOPARDY! family is heartbroken by the tragic loss of Brayden Smith,” the statement read. “He was kind, funny and absolutely brilliant. Our deepest condolences go out to Brayden’s family. He will be missed.”
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. https://t.co/aFQRt6KzPc
— Jeopardy! (@Jeopardy) February 12, 2021
Past “Jeopardy” champions also paid tribute to Smith on social media.
James Holzhauer, who won the 2019 Tournament of Champions, said he was “absolutely devastated” to lose “one of Jeopardy’s finest players and Las Vegas’s finest humans.”
Absolutely devastated by the tragic loss of one of Jeopardy’s finest players and Las Vegas’s finest humans.
— James Holzhauer (@James_Holzhauer) February 13, 2021
Burt Thakur, also a “Jeopardy” champion, said he was “stunned” to learn of Smith’s death. He described Smith as “kind and jovial.”
I’m stunned to hear of Brayden Smith’s death. Brayden was an exemplary multiple #Jeopardy champion, 24 and about to go to law school. In our brief online interactions, he was kind and jovial. He had his whole life ahead. My ❤️ goes to the Smith family. #braydensmith#Jeopardy pic.twitter.com/Xhh8xMfDd7
— Burt Thakur (@albertthakur) February 12, 2021
Fans hailed Smith as ‘Alex’s Last Great Champion’
Fans described Smith as “Alex’s Last Great Champion” on social media.
In a January interview, Smith reflected on meeting Trebek during his appearance on “Jeopardy!”
“I just wanted to stay there as long as possible. It’s really a great feeling to be on the set, to be around nice, warm, smart people and to be around Alex, who has been a mainstay in my life,” he said.
Smith continued, “To be on stage with somebody that I’ve seen five nights a week every week for over a decade was really a dream come true.”
Our current champ reflects on his time with Alex. Tune in today to watch Brayden Smith try for his 5th win in a row. pic.twitter.com/rWSY9df6XE
— Jeopardy! (@Jeopardy) January 4, 2021
Outside of his “Jeopardy” career, Smith interned at the Cato Institute in Washington, DC, and graduated from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas with a degree in economics, according to his obituary.
The obituary also said that Smith was looking forward to competing in the “Jeopardy!” Tournament of Champions and had plans to attend law school.
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