Current Events

The teen in that genius laser cat yearbook photo has committed suicide

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.

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.

deadstate laser cat

“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.



  1. Avatar


    February 21, 2015 at 8:34 pm

    IF life was so damned rosy for him, why did he commit suicide?

  2. Avatar


    February 21, 2015 at 8:52 pm

    Brain chemistry.

  3. Avatar

    Sean in GR

    February 21, 2015 at 9:11 pm

    There are always reasons for suicide, as there are reasons to continue.

    Those reasons are seldom known by any, excepting the closest of friends and occasional family.

    Like the age-old question, “How many licks…”, the world may never know why this young man chose to take his own life. But we can honor his legacy and try to empathize with his decision.

  4. Avatar


    February 21, 2015 at 9:53 pm

    Mental illness has nothing to do with how “rosy” someones life is…

  5. Avatar

    Kieran Castañeda

    February 21, 2015 at 10:21 pm

    Because depression doesn’t give a shit how damned rosy your life is and ending it seems like the only way out, sometimes.

  6. Avatar

    Drew Thompson

    February 21, 2015 at 10:41 pm

    Might have something to do with why it’s a cat in the pic instead of a girl.

  7. Avatar

    Bumble Bee

    February 22, 2015 at 5:19 am

    some people can be very cruel. he just can’t take it anymore.

  8. Avatar


    February 22, 2015 at 6:27 am

    Because depression sucks. His life only seemed rosy to others.

  9. Avatar


    February 22, 2015 at 6:52 am

    It’s “died by suicide” not “committed suicide.” The American Foundation for the Prevention Suicide” and other organizations of the same calibre have been recommending this change for years. It’s more accurate and compassionate. Check your dated vernacular.

  10. Avatar


    February 22, 2015 at 4:58 pm

    Wow, what a stupid comment.

  11. Avatar


    February 24, 2015 at 1:27 am

    Because of idiots like you, Jeb.

  12. Avatar


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