According to the Times Union, the teen behind a hilarious viral photo from last fall has passed away this Thursday as a result of suicide. He was 17 years-old.
Draven Rodriguez wanted the photo to be featured in his high school yearbook, but when the image of him, his cat, and lasers made its way onto the web, it went hugely viral and was shared and adored by millions of people, including us here at DeadState.
From the Times Union:
Although his humor and intelligence were readily apparent, Rodriguez was more cherished by family and schoolmates for his easy facility for friendship.
“He made friends wherever he went,” said Rodriguez’s father, Jonathan Stewart. “He had friends all over the country — people he’d met at youth-leadership conferences, online, just around town.”
Among those was Reza Zand, co-owner of the Schenectady restaurant Persian Bite, which Rodriguez frequented partly for the food and partly to talk to Zand and his brother, Arousol, whose stories as emigres from Iran intrigued him.
“He had an empathy for the world and for other people that I think is rare in kids his age,” said Stewart. “It was wonderful to see.”
The kid was clearly his own special kind of genius. RIP.