Jeopardy Champion Brayden Smith Is Dead At 24

Brayden Smith on Jeopardy!

Brayden Smith, a five-time Jeopardy! champion who appeared on some of Alex Trebek’s final shows, has died. The young man recently died “unexpectedly” and an exact cause of death has not been revealed at this time. Smith was only 24 at the time of his passing.

According to his obituary, Brayden Smith died in Las Vegas, Nevada on February 5. Smith’s death was confirmed by his mother, Debbie Smith, on Twitter. In her post, she confirmed the news and expressed her family’s gratitude for her son being able to appear on Jeopardy! before his death:

We are heartbroken to share that our dear Brayden Smith recently passed away unexpectedly. We are so grateful that Brayden was able to live out his dream on @jeopardy.

As mentioned, Brayden Smith appeared in some of the final Jeopardy! episodes to be hosted by Alex Trebek, before the iconic TV personality passed away from pancreatic cancer back in November. Smith quickly became a fan-favorite, with many taking to social media to express their delight in Trebek having had one final champion during his last episodes. With this, Smith became known as Alex’s Last Great Champion.”

Brayden Smith was one of the many Jeopardy! contestants to pay their respects after Trebek’s death. After news of Smith’s own passing was revealed, a statement was released from the show’s Twitter account:

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Former Jeopardy! fans have also reached out in the midst of Brayden Smith’s sudden passing, expressing warm responses to Debbie Smith’s original message. Fellow Jeopardy! champion James Holzhauer was among those who paid tribute to Smith on Twitter. He referred to the young man as “one of one of Jeopardy’s finest players” and asked that fans donate to Smith’s memorial fund:

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Brayden Smith was born in Henderson, Nevada and was known by many as a “voracious reader and autodidact, a lover of knowledge and an advocate for justice.” Smith would eventually attend the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where he would graduate with a degree in economics. Around the time of his death, Smith had his sights set on attending law school and ultimately hoped to become an attorney for the federal government.

Brayden Smith was a longtime fan of Jeopardy! and, during his high school years, he actually served as the captain of his school’s Quiz Bowl team. Aside from his love of academics, Smith was also a lover of film, and he enjoyed playing the saxophone. The 24-year-old Smith is survived by his mother and father, his three brothers, and a host of other relatives.

The news of Brayden Smith’s death comes as a complete shock, especially when fans’ recall just how lively and energetic he seemed not too long ago. While his death is one that hits hard, it’s beautiful to see that he touched so many and was able to make a place for himself within the storied history of the game show he loved so much.

We here at CinemaBlend extend our deepest condolences to the family of Brayden Smith during this time.

Erik Swann
Senior Content Producer

Covering superheroes, sci-fi, comedy, and almost anything else in film and TV. I eat more pizza than the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.