'Jeopardy!' Champ Dies at Age 24

Brayden Smith died unexpectedly, his mother says
By Luke Roney,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 13, 2021 11:12 AM CST
'Jeopardy!' Champ Dies at Age 24
Alex Trebec, left, appear with contestants, James Holzhauer, center, Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter, right, on the set of "Jeopardy!   (Eric McCandless/ABC via AP)

A five-time Jeopardy! champion who appeared on the show during Alex Trebek’s last week as host has died, CNN reports. Debbie Smith announced the death of her 24-year-old son in a tweet Friday, writing: “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.” Smith died on Feb. 5 in Las Vegas, according to his obituary. A cause of death was not given, but the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports that Smith had been hospitalized for several days. Smith appeared in six Jeopardy! episodes that aired in December and January. The shows were recorded in October, per CNN. During his run on Jeopardy!, Smith won more than $115,000.

Trebek died in November at age 80 of pancreatic cancer. On Friday, the show tweeted a tribute to Smith: “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.” Smith, described as a “voracious reader and autodidact” in his obituary, graduated from UNLV in 2020 with a degree in economics. He planned to go to law school and hoped to become an attorney for the federal government. In addition to his academic pursuits, the Nevada native enjoyed music and played the saxophone, according to the obituary. Smith is survived by his parents and three brothers. (More Jeopardy stories.)

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