Michael Feeney, a renowned journalist and Delaware State University alumnus, passed away suddenly Sunday, mere days before starting his dream job with CNN.
According to The New York Times, Feeney was set to start a job in Atlanta as an entertainment reporter when he became ill during the last week of January. He was admitted to a New Jersey hospital, where he went into cardiac arrest and passed away.
Feeney succumbed to a staph infection of his kidneys. While the source isn’t clear, staph infections are a common health issue among the general population and are the cause of many of the three million annual patient visits to urgent care clinics. If left undiagnosed or untreated, the infection can spread quickly and cause severe complications.
At only 32 years old, Feeney had managed to leave quite an impression on the journalism industry. He was publicly mourned by a large number of journalists across the country.
Those outside the journalism industry also mourned Feeney.
“Just heard that Michael Feeney, young dynamic journalist died,” tweeted Rev. Al Sharpton. “A good brother and fine journalist. Sad news, RIP Michael.”
A native of Teaneck, NJ, Feeney graduated from Delaware State University in 2005. He started working for the New York Daily News in 2009, covering breaking news in Harlem, East Harlem, Washington Heights, and Inwood. He also worked for the Associated Press and The Record in New Jersey.
According to the New York Times, Feeney had also served as the president of the New York Association of Black Journalists after being named the emerging journalist of the year by the organization. He was dedicated to the mission of improving diversity within media.
According to the New York Daily News, the current president of the New York Association of Black Journalists described Feeney as “a dedicated leader of the organization and an outstanding journalist.”
An editor for the The Record shared her fond feelings for Feeney in an obituary published by the media outlet.
“Even as a young reporter, he understood what it meant to build meaningful relationships,” Robinson said. “Not only did he want to grow and become a better journalist, but he spent most of his free time mentoring the next generation of reporters.”
Feeney held a degree in mass communications and print journalism from DSU and maintained a close relationship with his alma mater. He delivered a convocation speech to DSU students at the beginning of 2014 school year.