Just days after "Jeopardy!" champ Brayden Smith died unexpectedly, his loved ones are shedding light on what caused his sudden death.
The 24-year-old died from complications from surgery, according to his family, who shared the news with a local CBS station in his hometown of Las Vegas.
Smith was a five-time winner of the game show and was known to fans as "Alex's Last Great Champion," since he appeared in some of Alex Trebek's final episodes before the host died.
According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the 24-year-old spent several days at a Southern Nevada hospital before his death on Feb. 5. TODAY reached out to Smith's family for comment on the local reports, but had not heard back as of this posting.
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
Over the weekend, Smith's mother, Debbie, posted a new tweet thanking the public for their support during a difficult time for the family.
"The outpouring of love for Brayden is overwhelming," she wrote. "We can’t express how much your beautiful comments are comforting us during this painfully sad time. Thank you."
The surprising news of the young champion's death came last week when Debbie Smith posted the announcement to her Twitter page.
"We are heartbroken to share that our dear Brayden Smith recently passed away unexpectedly. We are so grateful that Brayden was able to live out his dream on @jeopardy," she wrote.
The quiz show also issued a statement mourning the loss of the young contestant, who earned more than $115,000 during his run.
"The JEOPARDY! family is heartbroken by the tragic loss of Brayden Smith. He was kind, funny and absolutely brilliant," the show said. "Our deepest condolences go out to Brayden’s family. He will be missed."
Related:The young champion appeared in some of Alex Trebek's final episodes.
To honor Smith's memory, his family has created a memorial fund dedicated to "furthering the educational aspirations of southern Nevada students." Funds will go to support scholarship awards, seminar tuitions, research grants, conference fees and more.
The 24-year-old was slated to compete on "Jeopardy!" once again in the show's Tournament of Champions and had plans to attend law school. His obituary describes him as “a lover of knowledge and an advocate for justice.”
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. https://t.co/aFQRt6KzPc
— Jeopardy! (@Jeopardy) February 12, 2021
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