Five-time Jeopardy! champion Brayden Andrew Smith passed away on Friday, Feb. 5, 2021, at just 24 years old. The competition show phenom, hailed by many as the last great champion of Alex Trebek's Jeopardy! era, left a longstanding legacy through his appearances on some of Alex's final episodes and proved his intelligence through many feats of mental gymnastics on the show.
In the wake of his untimely death at such a young age, here's a reflection into all that he was able to accomplish during his short time on Earth, and the ways that he is being remembered by family and fans alike.
Brayden Smith's untimely death is shocking to 'Jeopardy!' viewers.
Brayden gained fame amongst Jeopardy! fans as virtually the last multi-time champion of the show during Alex Trebek's life. The famed host, who passed away Nov. 8, 2020, was still at the show's helm during Brayden's remarkable five-time champion streak. With only a few months removed since Alex's death, the loss of Brayden is simply another terrible blow dealt to fans of the show. Since the information was revealed, the young star's cause of death hasn't been shared publicly.
Brayden's mother, Debbie Smith, took to Twitter to share the saddening news of the loss of her son. In her emotional post that accompanied Brayden's Jeopardy! headshot, the grieving parent 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 @jeopardy."
Brayden Smith's obituary paints a picture of who he was as a person outside of 'Jeopardy!'
Per his obituary, Brayden was intelligent, determined, and posed to do big things in his life. His accolades included but were not limited to being a graduate of UNLV with a degree in economics, a National Merit Scholar semifinalist, a member of the Junior Classical League, and captain of his school’s Quiz Bowl team, leading them to back-to-back state runner-up's during his enrollment.
For all of this, Brayden was given the honor of being named the Harvey Dondero outstanding player, which earned him a college scholarship. He graduated from UNLV in 2020 while garnering fame for his appearances on Jeopardy!.
He was a film buff and a music lover with a supportive family unit.
Beyond his pursuits regarding knowledge and Jeopardy! history, Brayden enjoyed the simple things in life, such as an affinity for both classic and new movies. According to his obituary, "He could be explaining the symbolism in Citizen Kane one moment and the comedic timing in Dumb and Dumber the next."
When he wasn't watching lauded cinema, Brayden was an avid music lover and even played the saxophone. His tastes, per the obituary, were commendable as well, with a penchant for listening to the likes of "Duke Ellington, Chet Baker and Miles Davis," and even "the Beach Boys, Steely Dan, and Toto."