“Jeopardy!” champion Brayden Smith’s death shocked many fans earlier this week. The news came unexpectedly to many, given the contestant’s young age. Smith was just 24-years-old when he died on Feb. 5.
But now officials have released a cause of death. According to the New York Post, Smith died from complications related to a recent surgery. Just days prior to his untimely passing, Smith had to be hospitalized at a Southern Nevada hospital. According to family members, Smith passed after he developed complications related to an undisclosed procedure.
Smith’s death is just the latest blow to the “Jeopardy!” fandom, who’s still reeling from the loss of host Alex Trebek. Trebek passed last year from pancreatic cancer. During the host’s final episodes, Smith acted as reigning champion last October. During his brief run, he won five consecutive games and secured $115,000 in prize money.
Fans Mourn the Loss of Brayden Smith
The young contestant capture millions of fans and had a bright future ahead of him. In a statement, producers for the show honored Smith and his legacy on the show. They offered their condolences to his family and friends.
“The ‘Jeopardy!’ family is heartbroken by the tragic loss of Brayden Smith,” the show said in a statement. “He was kind, funny and absolutely brilliant. Our deepest condolences go out to Brayden’s family. He will be missed.”
Additionally, former “Jeopardy!” champion James Holzhauer also offered his condolences to the late contestant.
“Absolutely devastated by the tragic loss of one of Jeopardy’s finest players and Las Vegas’s finest humans,” Holzhauer wrote. “Please consider a donation to Brayden’s memorial fund for Southern Nevada students. I will match the first $10,000.”
Meanwhile, Smith’s Debbie offered a short message to grieving fans. It can’t be easy as a parent to lose a child, especially someone who seemed so full of life. Debbie said she was grateful that Smith got the opportunity to live out his lifelong dream by appearing on the show. He was a champion that inspired other people to follow in his footsteps. And he got the opportunity to meet his idol, Alex Trebek.
“We are so grateful that Brayden was able to live out his dream on @jeopardy,” she wrote on Twitter.