Journalist and former New York Association of Black Journalists President Michael J. Feeney has died. He was 32.
Feeney passed Sunday from complications while being treated for a staph infection in his kidneys, according to his mother Reba Willis.
He previously worked for the New York Daily News, The Record in Bergen County, N.J., the Associated Press and was also a freelance writer for Ebony magazine, NBC News and TheGrio.com.
Prior to his death, Feeney was preparing for a position he accepted at CNN as an entertainment reporter.
National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) President Sarah Glover said Feeney was a true leader in the organization.
“I am shocked to learn of Michael’s passing. He was a respected leader within NABJ having served with distinction as chapter president of the New York Association of Black Journalists for years. His leadership led to that chapter receiving the NABJ Chapter of the Year Award,” Glover said. “He was a tenacious journalist who possessed a passion and energy for telling stories reflective of diverse communities — stories which otherwise might not have been told.”
Social media has been buzzing over Feeney’s passing since Sunday. Several notables offered their condolences.
“Just heard that Michael Feeney, young dynamic journalist died this morning. A good brother and fine journalist. Sad news, RIP Michael,” Rev. Al Sharpton said via Twitter.
Mayor Bill de Blasio called Feeney a “leader” and a “rising” star in a tweet.
“My condolences to the friends and family of Michael Feeney. Rest in peace,” he said.
A native of Teaneck, N.J., Feeney was a 2005 graduate of Delaware State University. Upon being honored with NABJ’s Emerging Journalist of the Year Award in 2010, he went on a speaking tour which took him to several Black college campuses. He was also a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.
Feeney is survived by his mother, sister, Maria Feeney and a twin brother, Anthony Feeney.