Family confirms cause of death for 24-year-old ‘Jeopardy!’ champ Brayden Smith

LAS VEGAS — The cause of death for Brayden Smith has been confirmed by the five-time “Jeopardy!” champion’s family.

Family members told KLAS that Smith, who was only 24, died following complications from surgery on Feb. 5. No other details were provided.

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Smith’s parents also thanked the public for the outpouring of support received since their son’s passing and announced a memorial fund in his name dedicated to “furthering the educational aspirations of Southern Nevada students,” the TV station reported.

Specifically, the fund will “support students who share Brayden’s passion for learning” by dispersing funds for “scholarship awards, conference fees, seminar tuitions, research grants, school supplies, field trips and more,” according to the Brayden Smith Memorial Fund site.

“Throughout his life, Brayden pursued every opportunity to improve his understanding of the world,” his parents wrote on the site.

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.

According to People magazine, Smith spoke about his impressive “Jeopardy!” in January, telling the show’s correspondent Sarah Whitcomb Foss, “It’s been a whirlwind.”

“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 said, calling the “best part” of the experience spending time with host Alex Trebek, whom he described as “sort of a mainstay in my life.”

Trebek, who hosted “Jeopardy!” for 37 seasons, died Nov. 8 from pancreatic cancer at the age of 80. His last day in the studio was Oct. 29, only 10 days before his passing.

“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,” Smith said.