Brayden Andrew Smith

September 6, 1996February 5, 2021

Brayden Andrew Smith passed away Friday morning, February 5, in Las Vegas, Nev. He was 24.

Brayden attained a lifelong dream as a five-time champion on the popular Jeopardy! television game show. His appearances were among the last hosted by Alex Trebek, and Brayden was hailed on social media as “Alex’s Last Great Champion.” He was looking forward to competing in the show’s Tournament of Champions.

A 2020 graduate of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas with a degree in economics, Brayden intended to attend law school and become an attorney for the federal government. He was a voracious reader and autodidact, a lover of knowledge and an advocate for justice. His room was bursting with books on political science, philosophy, economics and history. He recently served as an intern with the prestigious Cato Institute in Washington, D.C., where he researched criminal justice reform issues.

At Liberty High School in Henderson, Nev., Brayden was a National Merit Scholar semifinalist, was active in the Junior Classical League and captained his school’s Quiz Bowl team to back-to-back state runner-up finishes. He made the game’s all-star team both years, and in his senior campaign was named the Harvey Dondero outstanding player, earning a college scholarship.

Brayden loved classic and not-so-classic movies. He could be explaining the symbolism in Citizen Kane one moment and the comedic timing in Dumb and Dumber the next. He played the saxophone and enjoyed listening to a variety of music, from Duke Ellington, Chet Baker and Miles Davis to the Beach Boys, Steely Dan, and Toto. He was an avid sports fan, cheering on the Detroit Tigers and Vegas Golden Knights.

The second of four sons, Brayden was born in Henderson, Nev. on September 6, 1996, to Scott and Deborah (Rudy) Smith. They survive, along with his brothers Bryce, 26, of Reno, Nev., Brock, 18, and Brody, 15, both of Las Vegas. Other survivors include maternal grandparents Larry and Anne (Gable) Rudy of Plainfield, Ind., paternal grandmother Wanda (Pavey) Smith of Crawfordsville, Ind., uncle David (Cathy) Rudy of Greenwood, Ind., aunt Dianne (Jeff) Kessler of Algonquin, Ill., and cousins Taylor Rudy, Samuel and Benjamin Kessler, Amy Gigante, and Chrystel Lott.

Arrangements are pending. Donantions in Brayden’s memory may be made to


  • Graveside Service

    Friday, March 12, 2021


Brayden Andrew Smith

have a memory or condolence to add?

Lauren Fielden

May 21, 2021

So sorry for your loss. He was a joy to watch on Jeopardy. May he be forever in your hearts.

Jake Markowski

May 10, 2021

This is so heartbreaking. I loved Jeopardy! ever since I was a baby, and I am glad Brayden was able to get onto Jeopardy!, and got to know Alex. I liked Brayden as soon as he got all 9 daily doubles in his first 3 games, and that made me realize that he was good at the game. I had hoped to see him in the Tournament of Champions, and I probably would have rooted for him. To the Smith family, I am sorry for your loss and he is still with you guys in your hearts.

Kathy Lawrence

April 3, 2021

I enjoyed watching your son on jeopardy his intelligence and humor kept me tuned in nightly may all our memories be fond ones.
As a mother my heart goes out to you during these difficult times.

I bet he and Alex are still playing Jeopardy may he rest in peace.

Canadian neighbour

Anthony Thomas

March 22, 2021

Hello Smith Family,
I was really heartbroken when I found this out today that I didn't hear about last month! I almost cried hearing about your great relative Brayden and I thought his win was honored really well for Jeopardy fans, James Holzhauer and even the late Alex Trebek! Me and my grandparents really loved him and he'll be missed and best wishes in our hearts for him including you Smiths who lost a great sharp, smart and hilarious champion!

We ❤️ You Brayden and Jeopardy!

Sandra Mountcastle

March 11, 2021

I go to church and I am in the same Sunday school class as Wanda Smith; Brayden's Grandmother. We watched proudly as Brayden sored on Jeopardy. Brayden was a celebrity in this small town of Crawfordsville, In. I know Wanda took losing Brayden very hard. She loved him and thought the world of him. Brayden was his Grandmother's joy and concern because of his health. Prayers of comfort for the family of the loss of a wonderful young man.
Love and Prayers of comfort.
Sandra (and I Know Wanda expresses these sentiments too. )

Dan W

March 5, 2021

Young man had a bright future ahead but tragedy has taken him too soon, my heart goes out to his family, he showed the world his brilliance before he left us. R.I.P. young man.

Scott McAtee

March 3, 2021

I am Scott MCATEE of Oxnard California USA and you don’t know me but I know you because I am still a fan of Alex trebek and your son brayden !. I am deeply saddened by the death of Alex and your son brayden !. He was a wonderful man with a genius book of talent. I will deeply miss your son and his wit of memory.
I also miss Alex of the game show because he had class and one of a
Kind man with a smile that lit up a room and your son and Alex was all of it!. I am deeply saddened by your life loss.
If you, need to get in touch with me please text me back or FaceTime call me or send me a letter or card at
1887 Cesar Chavez drive Oxnard California USA 93030-5439.

velma smith

February 23, 2021

so very sorry for your loss. losing alex was hard now its hard cause now we lost the champ of jeopardy. i only knew brayden from watching the show. he was great had a smile that lit up the room. he will never be forgotten . they do watch over us i get signs of my dad watching over me. it feels like some one is poking me in my shoulder but no one is in the room with me that is how i know hes watching over me. they let us know they are with us even if we cant see them. i was sad when i saw this and thought it cant be true was shocked to find out it was. rip brayden fly high with them wings . you are dearly missed .

Ann Jesick

February 19, 2021

Such a wonderful, personable and hugely intelligent young man. It's difficult to tell you how many tears we shed at such sad news. Like losing a child from one's own family. It's not supposed to happen. God bless you all and give you strength to live through this tragedy.
Sincerely, Ann & Randy Jesick

Maria S

February 18, 2021

I may have not known this bright young man, but he brought my mother and I so much joy during the holiday season that wasn’t that great for us. Brayden always brought a smile to our face when we saw him living out his dream. Everytime it turned 7:30, I would just scream “Mom we gotta watch Brayden!!!” May he rest in paradise. All my love and strength to his family and friends 💙