Boy Behind Viral 'Laser Cat' Photo Kills Self

Draven Rodriguez, Mr. Bigglesworth raised awareness for rescue animals
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 22, 2015 10:04 AM CST
Boy Behind Viral 'Laser Cat' Photo Kills Self
In a Sept. 10, 2014 file photo, Draven Rodriguez and Mr. Bigglesworth at home in Schenectady, NY. Draven’s parents said he committed suicide Thursday, Feb. 19, 2015. He was 17.   (AP Photo/The Daily Gazette, Patrick Dodson)

Draven Rodriguez, the "quick-witted" upstate New York teenager whose proposed yearbook photo went viral last fall after his school rejected it, has died, reports the Albany Times-Union. His parents say he killed himself at home on Thursday; NBC notes that it's not clear what drove Draven to end his life. "He had an empathy for the world and for other people that I think is rare in kids his age," says Draven's dad, Jonathan Stewart. "It was wonderful to see." Draven's photo, which featured his rescue cat, Mr. Bigglesworth, and blue and pink lasers was rejected by the school yearbook, but school Principal Diane Wilkinson got in on the act and posed with Draven, Mr. Bigglesworth, and her own rescue Chihuahua, Vivienne, in a photo she put on her own page in the yearbook. The photo was meant to raise awareness of the SPCA and rescue animals, notes the AP. (Read more suicide stories.)

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