5-time ‘Jeopardy!’ champion Brayden Smith dead at 24

LAS VEGAS — Brayden Smith, a five-time champion on “Jeopardy!” who competed on the last episodes hosted by Alex Trebek, died Feb. 5 in Las Vegas, according to his obituary. He was 24.

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The longtime television game show also confirmed Smith’s death in a tweet, writing that “The ‘Jeopardy!’ family is heartbroken by the tragic loss of Brayden Smith,” the tweet said. “He was kind, funny, and absolutely brilliant. Our deepest condolences go out to Brayden’s family. He will be missed.”

Smith won $115,798 during his five-game winning streak, E! Online reported. He was planning to compete on the show’s Tournament of Champions.

The show also shared a tweet from Smith’s mother, Debbie Smith, who wrote that her son’s death was unexpected. Neither she nor “Jeopardy!” disclosed Brayden Smith’s cause of death.

“We are heartbroken to share that our dear Brayden Smith recently passed away unexpectedly,” she wrote. “We are so grateful that Brayden was able to live out his dream on @jeopardy,” Debbie Smith tweeted.

According to his obituary, Brayden Smith graduated from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas in 2020 with a degree in economics. He intended to attend law school and become an attorney for the federal government.

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Brayden Smith’s appearances on “Jeopardy!” were taped in October and aired in late December and early January, USA Today reported. Trebek, who hosted “Jeopardy!” for 37 seasons, died Nov. 8 from pancreatic cancer. He was 80. His last day in the studio was Oct. 29 -- 10 days before his death.

“The best part of it for me was spending time with him,” Smith said during a ”Jeopardy!” interview in January. “To finally 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.”

According to his obituary, Smith was an intern with the Cato Institute in Washington, D.C., where he researched criminal justice reform issues. A graduate of Liberty High School in Henderson, Nevada, Smith was a National Merit Scholar semifinalist, was active in the Junior Classical League and captained his school’s Quiz Bowl team to back-to-back state runner-up finishes.

He was born Sept. 6, 1996, in Henderson and is survived by his parents, Scott Smith and Deborah (Rudy) Smith, and three brothers.