Brayden Smith, Jeopardy! champion, who won during Alex Trebek’s final episodes passed away suddenly on February 5, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
He was 24 years old.
Cause of death is unknown.
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. https://t.co/aFQRt6KzPc
— Jeopardy! (@Jeopardy) February 12, 2021
Smith won five games and over $115,000.
His episodes were filmed in October, but Smith planned to return for the show’s “Tournament of Champions.”
These turned out to be the final episodes Trebek filmed before succumbing to pancreatic cancer.
Social media nicknamed him “Alex’s Last Great Champion.”
During filming, Trebek nicknamed him “Billy Buzzsaw.”
When recalling Trebek’s final episodes, Jeopardy! executive producer Mike Richards talked about his affinity for Brayden Smith.
“I could tell that he [Trebek] very much enjoyed that young man, and that was fun to watch. I think that energized him.”
Here are 3 cold hard facts about Brayden Smith.
1. College Graduate With Future Law School Plans
Smith graduated from high school at Liberty High School in Henderson, Nevada.
He was a National Merit Scholar semifinalist.
Smith graduated from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas with a degree in economics in 2020.
After graduation, he did an internship with the Cato Institute in Washington, DC working on criminal justice reform.
He had aspirations to attend law school and become a federal government attorney.
2. Lifelong Jeopardy! Fan
Smith loved Jeopardy! from an early age.
He gained some early experience with trivia games in high school as the captain of Liberty High School’s Quiz Bowl team.
For two straight years, his team finished second place in the state competition.
3. Not Just Book Smart
One of the reasons he was such a great champion is because he had so many interests.
He loved sports, music, and film.
His entertainment tastes varied between Oscar-winning movies and slapstick comedies.
Smith is survived by his parents, Scott and Deborah, and three siblings.
They are Bryce, Brock and Brody.
The family has set up a fund in his honor.
It is called the Brayden Smith Memorial Fund devoted to the educational aspirations of southern Nevada students.
According to the fund’s webpage, it has the following mission statement.
“This fund will support students who share Brayden’s passion for learning. Distributions will include funds for scholarship awards, conference fees, seminar tuitions, research grants, school supplies, field trips, and more.”