Brayden Smith, the 24-year-old five-time Jeopardy! winner whose death was announced by family last week, had undergone surgery for an undisclosed condition in the days before his Feb. 5 passing, a local CBS station in his hometown of Las Vegas reports.
News station KLAS cites a Smith family sources in its report about Brayden Smith’s recent surgery. The Las Vegas Review-Journal has reported that the Jeopardy! contestant dubbed “Billy Buzzsaw” by host Alex Trebek had spent several days at a Southern Nevada hospital prior to his death. Neither news outlet specified the nature of Smith’s illness or surgery.
Smith is considered on social media to be Trebek’s “last great champion” – the young man taped his episodes last October prior to Trebek’s death on Nov. 8. The episodes, with Smith winning more than $115,000, aired in December. The following month, Smith appeared in a Jeopardy! video tribute to Trebek, saying that spending time with the iconic game show host was his favorite part of the Jeopardy! experience.
Smith’s mother Debbie Smith announced her son’s death last Friday. Later, she expressed gratitude for the many condolences received.
“The outpouring of love for Brayden is overwhelming,” she tweeted. “We can’t express how much your beautiful comments are comforting us during this painfully sad time. Thank you.”
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. ❤️
— Debbie Smith (@debbieinlv) February 13, 2021