Student Behind ‘Laser Cat’ Photo Commits Suicide
Remember the kid who fought to have his 80s style picture with his cat included in his high school yearbook??? That boy, 17-year-old Draven Rodriguez, has committed suicide.
Schenectady High School senior Draven Rodriguez, whose fearless creativity earned him international fame last year, took his own life Thursday evening, according to multiple authorities familiar with his death.
Rodriguez, the teenager responsible for the laser-cat yearbook photo that became an Internet sensation in the fall, committed suicide in his home, authorities said. He was 17.
Rodriguez’s mother, Melissa Petersen, and stepfather, Jonathan Stewart, gathered with family at the residence Friday. They declined to be interviewed by a Gazette reporter.
The humble, well-liked Rodriguez was featured by media outlets including The Huffington Post, BuzzFeed and USA Today — and was even mentioned on “The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon” — after he petitioned to have his senior yearbook photo feature himself and his cat, Mr. Bigglesworth, against a backdrop of lasers.
The picture, taken by Vincent Giordano, featured a smiling Rodriguez clutching Mr. Bigglesworth, with bright lasers and a faded image of the cat’s face looking off into the distance in the background. He first posted the image on his Instagram page.
“I don’t want to go in the yearbook with the generic ‘I-look-like-everyone-else’ photo,” he told The Daily Gazette in early September, after the photo went viral. “I wanted a ‘He looks great. Only he would try that’ photo.
“When people look at it, they will know that was me.”