5-Time ‘Jeopardy!’ Champion Brayden Smith Unexpectedly Dead At 24
Reading Time: 3 minutes
On February 5, Jeopardy! contestant Brayden Smith passed away. He was 24 years old residing in Las Vegas. Brayden was well-known for his five-game winning streak on the show just before longtime host Alex Trebek passed away.
‘Jeopardy!’ Contestant Brayden Smith Has Passed Away
Brayden’s mother posted the heartbreaking news on Twitter. “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” she wrote.
Brayden had previously tried to get on Jeopardy! many times in the past. All of his dreams came true when he was finally selected to compete on the show. When he did debut on the show, he immediately became a fan-favorite of the audience and Alex who called him “Billy Buzzsaw.” Brayden just had a knack for dominating the competition.
His episode aired a month ago and he had plans to come back and compete on the show’s special Tournament of Champions. Brayden took home $115,798 while maintaining a five-game winning streak. His cause of death is unknown at this time. He had been hospitalized for a few days prior to his death.
“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” the shows Twitter account posted.
Brayden Gushed About His Time On The Show Back In January
“I just wanted to stay there as long as possible” Brayden said about his experience on the show in a January interview. “It’s really a great feeling to be on the set to be around nice, smart, warm people and to be around Alex who has been sort of a mainstay in my life.”
“The best part of it for me was spending time with him,” he added. “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.”
Tributes Began Flooding In For The Young ‘Jeopardy!’ Contestant
“I’m stunned to hear of Brayden Smith’s death. Brayden was an exemplary multiple #Jeopardy champion, 24 and about to go to law school. In our brief online interactions, he was kind and jovial. He had his whole life ahead. My heart goes to the Smith family” Jeopardy! champion Burt Thakur wrote on Twitter.
“He was a great Jeopardy! champion. A very inspiring player and a very bright, kind young man. He touched us with his kindness and we are very saddened by his loss” Jeopardy! champion James Holzhauer and his wife, Melissa, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
“RIP to my cousin, Brayden Smith. We will all miss you so much. I’m happy you got to live your dream of being a 5 time champion on @Jeopardy” Brayden’s cousin wrote on Twitter.
“It’s a sad day for the #Jeopardy community. Just heard that former and recent champ Brayden Smith passed away. I actually enjoyed watching him and was looking forward to seeing him in the Tourney of Champions” one fan of the show wrote on Twitter.
Our hearts go out to Brayden’s family and his fans at this difficult time.