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'Jeopardy!' Star James Holzhauer Encourages Fan to Make Donations after Brayden Smith's Death

Joe Akins
Feb 19, 2021
08:50 P.M.
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Following Brayden Smith's death, "Jeopardy!" star James Holzhauer encouraged fans to make donations to one of the game show's finest players, and they have duly responded.


On February 5, five-time "Jeopardy!" champion Brayden Smith died from surgery complications. He is notable for appearing in some of Alex Trebek's last "Jeopardy!" episodes before Alex's death in November.

Brayden's death announcement shocked many "Jeopardy!" fans as he was one of the television game show's finest contestants, and many were devastated about the news of his passing.

"Jeopardy!" champion James Holzhauer presents the Frank J. Selke Trophy during the 2019 NHL Awards at the Mandalay Bay Events Center on June 19, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada | Photo: Getty Images


A week after Brayden's death, another "Jeopardy!" star, James Holzhauer, took to his Twitter page to call for donations to the former's memorial fund for Southern Nevada students.

Responding to a tweet Brayden's mom Deborah Smith made to announce her son's passing, Holzhauer said that he was devastated by the tragic loss of one of the game show's finest players before adding:

"Please consider a donation to Brayden's memorial fund for Southern Nevada students. I will match the first $10,000."


Many people have responded to Holzhauer's call for donations and have made several donations to the Brayden Smith Memorial fund. On February 16, the former gave an update on the donations.

In a tweet, he said donations worth $14,000 have already been made to the memorial fund and thanked everyone who donated, urging them to continue to spread the word.

His family described him as a serious student who fulfilled his lifelong dream of appearing as a contestant on "Jeopardy!"


Some fans reacted to Holzhauer's update on the donations, expressing their happiness that people responded to the call and made donations.

One fan said he is happy to see the love of the "Jeopardy!" community and thanked Holzhauer for helping, adding that Las Vegas is a better place because of people like him.


Brayden's parents established the Brayden Smith Memorial Fund to assist in furthering the educational aspirations of Southern Nevada students and keep their son's legacy alive.

The memorial fund will support students who share the similar passion Brayden had for learning. It includes funds for scholarship awards, research grants, field trips, school supplies, seminar tuitions, conference fees, and more.


Brayden graduated from the University of Southern Nevada, Las Vegas, in 2020, with a degree in Economics. His family described him as a serious student who fulfilled his lifelong dream of appearing as a contestant on "Jeopardy!"

He wowed audiences and viewers worldwide when he went on a five-day winning streak last year, winning nearly $116,000. His family also said he was preparing to compete in the show's Tournament of Champions before his demise. May his soul rest in peace.