‘Jeopardy!’ Champion Brayden Smith, who played in some of the last episodes hosted by Alex Trebek, died on Twitter Friday, the game show reported.
Brayden passed away in Las Vegas on February 5, 2021, according to his obituary.
He graduated in 2020 with a degree in Economics from the University of Nevada and hoped to attend law school and work as a federal government lawyer.
He was 24 years old.
Smith was a semifinalist for the National Merit Scholar. He was the Quiz Bowl captain at school and helped guide his team to consecutive state runner-up finishes. Smith was also known as the outstanding Harvey Dondero player during what his obituary terms his “senior campaign,” and won a college scholarship as a result of his performance.
He liked to learn about political science, philosophy, economics, and history – subjects that were helpful in his rise to the popularity of trivia. To make it to Jeopardy! For Smith, it was a life-long dream. When he spoke to The Ringer at the beginning of January, he shared, “I remember being really bad at first… I was in elementary school for my defense.”
The young gameshow star revealed, focusing on his five-game winning streak, “The only thing I didn’t want to do was embarrass myself on the show with a bad wager, a bad guess, [or] a head-slapping Final Jeopardy! guess. I didn’t really think I was crushing until Alex said after one game something like ‘most impressive, I don’t even know what to say.’”
In an interview, Smith described Trebek as a “mainstay” for him, according to the Deseret News.
His death was confirmed today by Debbie Smith, his mother. The cause of death has not been revealed.
In a tweet, however, Smith’s mother, Debbie Smith, wrote that Brayden“unexpectedly” passed away. She wrote, “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”
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. pic.twitter.com/e5x18xGcxV