A former “Jeopardy!” contestant, and one of Alex Trebek’s final champions, died last week at the age of 24, the show announced in a tweet.
“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 tweet read.
According to his obituary, Smith was a five-time “Jeopardy!” champion who loved to play saxophone and listen to musicians like Duke Ellington and the Beach Boys. He was praised on social media as “Alex’s Last Great Champion” and was looking forward to competing in the show’s Tournament of Champions.
Trebek died in November at the age of 80 after battling stage 4 pancreatic cancer.
Smith, who graduated from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas in 2020, intended to attend law school and work for the federal government, according to his obituary. He loved reading about political science, philosophy, economics, and history – topics that proved helpful in his rise to trivia show fame.
“I’m really grateful for everything, for all the opportunities that I had,” Smith said in a video the show posted to YouTube after Smith ended his five-game winning streak. “I’m just glad that … I was able to show what I was capable of.”
In the video, Smith praised Trebek for continuing to appear on the show despite his declining health.
“To put on a brave face and go out there every day and continue to give America and the world some good cheer … was really a testament to how great of a person he was,” Smith said.