Jeopardy! Champ Brayden Smith's Cause Of Death Is Revealed

Less than a week after officially announcing his death on Twitter, Brayden Smith's family revealed to a local CBS news station in their home city of Las Vegas, that the 24-year-old Jeopardy! champion died on February 5 as a result of complications from surgery. Although no further details were given, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that Smith was hospitalized "for days" at an undisclosed Southern Nevada medical center prior to his death.

Being on Jeopardy! was a lifelong dream for the young Smith, and as noted in his obituary, the five-time champion was one of the last significant contestant appearances of Alex Trebek's tenure as host. He was affectionately named on social media as "Alex's Last Great Champion," and according to the memorial was "looking forward to competing in the show's Tournament of Champions."

Jeopardy! released an official statement on Twitter expressing condolences for their former contestant's passing, sharing, "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."

There has been an outpouring of support and love for Brayden Smith's family on social media

With his seemingly humble nature and bright, young mind, Brayden Smith won over the show's fans with ease. As reported by People, Smith loved his time on the Jeopardy! set and revealed to the show's correspondent, Sarah Whitcomb Foss, "I just wanted to stay there as long as possible. It's really a great feeling to be on set — to be around smart, nice, warm people." He went on to endearingly share that the "best part" of taping the show was meeting Alex Trebek.

Unsurprisingly, upon hearing the news of his death, fans took to social media to express their thoughts and condolences. One Twitter user shared, "So sorry for your incredible loss... I enjoyed watching Brayden on Jeopardy... not only was he brilliant but you could tell he had a kind soul. Sending prayers to your family..." Another simply stated, "He was a wonderful and engaging contestant. I'm so sorry to learn about his passing."

The messages of love weren't lost on the Smith family, and Brayden's mother, Debbie Smith, responded to the countless tributes, posting on Twitter, "The outpouring of love for Brayden is overwhelming. We can't express how much your beautiful comments are comforting us during this painfully sad time. Thank you."

Brayden Smith's family has set up a scholarship fund in his name

Smith's family is determined that his legacy will not be forgotten. Per his obituary, the family is accepting "donations in Brayden's memory" and is also setting up a scholarship fund to honor him. The Brayden Smith Memorial Fund is already accepting donations online and "will support students who share Brayden's passion for learning." Recipients of money from the fund will be able to apply it to "scholarship awards, conference fees, seminar tuitions, research grants, school supplies, field trips, and more."

Donations can be made online via credit card or by mail and are tax-deductible. "We wanted to do something special," his mother, Debbie, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal of setting up the scholarship fund.

Donations are already rolling in. "It has been nonstop," Debbie said. "We just had no idea how far out Brayden's run on Jeopardy! went. Small donations from as little as $2 up to high amounts."

Brayden Smith was humble about his Jeopardy! experience

Hopefully, the fund will help others live out their own dreams just like Smith did on Jeopardy!. "He just enjoyed learning for the sake of learning, and to know new things," Smith's dad, Scott Smith, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Getting on Jeopardy! is a big accomplishment, but Smith was a modest man who didn't want to make a big deal out of his success. He even downplayed how well he did on the show, on which he won $115,798 over his five games. "He did not want a hoopla made about anything that he did," his mom told the outlet. "He didn't even want me telling anyone he was on Jeopardy! — even after it was going to be shown on the air. He didn't want me telling anybody, but I did anyway."

Smith was reluctant to even tell his mom that he had won, although she had suspected he had because he was wearing a different outfit when she picked him up from the taping of the show. "Then he said, 'I don't want to have to tell you this, but I'm going to have to come back to L.A. in another week,'" she revealed. "That was exciting news."