Draven Rodriguez, a 17-year-old New York boy whose "laser cat" high school yearbook photo became a viral Internet hit last year, has died in an apparent suicide, reports say.
The Daily Gazette reports that the Schenectady High School senior took his life in his home on Thursday evening.
Rodriguez’s viral senior yearbook photo features him posing holding his cat, Mr. Bigglesworth, surrounded by '80s-style pink and blue lasers.
In 2014, he petitioned his school to put the non-traditional photo in the yearbook after the school initially refused. The petition, which was originally posted on ipetitions.com, received national attention and garnered more than 7,500 signatures, according to the site.
The photo made the yearbook cut, but it wasn’t placed with the rest of the senior portraits. Instead, Rodriguez’s photo was featured on the principal’s page, along with a message promoting animal rescue and adoption, the Daily Gazette reports. Even high school Principal Diane Wilkinson got in on the fun, posing alongside with her dog.
Rodriguez was honored by American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the Animal Protective Foundation of Schenectady for helping to raise awareness through the yearbook photo, the Daily Gazette reports. He also volunteered for the How To UnMake a Bully campaign.
Rodriguez is survived by his mother, his father, his 11-year-old sister and a stepfather, the NY Daily News reports.