Less than a week after officially announcing his death on Twitter, Brayden Smith’s family revealed to a local CBS news station in their home city of Las Vegas, that the 24-year-old Jeopardy! champion died on February 5 as a result of complications from surgery. Although no further details were given, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that Smith was hospitalized “for days” at an undisclosed Southern Nevada medical center prior to his death.
Being on Jeopardy! was a lifelong dream for the young Smith, and as noted in his obituary, the five-time champion was one of the last significant contestant appearances of Alex Trebek’s tenure as host. He was affectionately named on social media as “Alex’s Last Great Champion,” and according to the memorial was “looking forward to competing in the show’s Tournament of Champions.”
Jeopardy! released an official statement on Twitter expressing condolences for their former contestant’s passing, sharing, “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.”
There has been an outpouring of support and love for Brayden Smith's family on social media
With his seemingly humble nature and bright, young mind, Brayden Smith won over show fan’s with ease. As reported by People, Smith loved his time on the Jeopardy! set and revealed to the show’s correspondent, Sarah Whitcomb Foss, “I just wanted to stay there as long as possible. It’s really a great feeling to be on set — to be around smart, nice, warm people.” He went on to endearingly share that the “best part” of taping the show was meeting Alex Trebek.
Unsurprisingly, upon hearing the news of his death, fans took to social media to express their thoughts and condolences. One Twitter user shared, “So sorry for your incredible loss… I enjoyed watching Brayden on Jeopardy… not only was he brilliant but you could tell he had a kind soul. Sending prayers to your family…” Another simply stated, “He was a wonderful and engaging contestant. I’m so sorry to learn about his passing.”
The messages of love weren’t lost on the Smith family, and Bradyen’s mother, Debbie Smith, responded to the countless tributes, posting on Twitter, “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.”
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