Michael Feeney, a former New York Daily News reporter and president of the New York Association of Black Journalists, has died at the young age of 32.
According to the New York Daily News, Feeney was only a few short days away from starting his dream job with CNN in Atlanta when he became sick. He later succumbed to the illness after contracting a staph infection in his kidneys on Sunday, January 31. Feeney’s mother, Reba Willis, said her son was a patient at the Holy Name Medical Center in Teaneck, New Jersey, since Tuesday, January 26. He went into cardiac arrest on Sunday at approximately 1:15 p.m. She said the doctors worked on him but sadly couldn’t get him back.
“Mike did everything to help everyone,” Willis said. “He did whatever he could with any person who he came across who wanted to know anything about journalism and about life. It’s going to be a hard pill to swallow for everyone. He had so much more to accomplish. He is truly going to be missed.”
In 2005, Feeney graduated from Delaware State University where he was a member of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity. He later worked for the Associated Press and then The Record in New Jersey. Feeney joined the New York Daily News as a reporter in 2009. He was later named the emerging journalist of the year by the National Association of Black journalists, and in 2011, he was elected president of the New York chapter of the organization.
According to NBC News, Feeney also mentored high school and college students who were aspiring to be professional journalists. During his career as a journalist, he landed exclusive interviews with several major stars, including Alicia Keys, Jay-Z, Beyoncé, and Rihanna. He also covered the tragic death of the legendary singer Whitney Houston, and the Baltimore unrest after Freddie Gray’s death.
“Mike gave me a long directory of contacts and a crash course about covering upper Manhattan and its diverse communities,” Bruce Diamond, one of Feeney’s previous editors, said. “In the more than two years I worked with him, I never stopped learning.”
“He looked out for me big-time when I got to the Daily News,” Jan Ransom, a former News reporter, recalled. “Every source I met raved about him — and naturally, by association, that meant I was in their good graces, too.”
Before his untimely death, Feeney was looking forward to starting his dream job with CNN working as an entertainment reporter. Many of his former colleagues and friends took to Twitter to remember Feeney for his work and his character.
You will be hard pressed to find a more genuinely caring, helpful and true person like Michael Feeney. He would loo… pic.twitter.com/AjHWybtfXF
— Datwon Thomas (@Daydog) February 1, 2016
— Chaker Khazaal (@ChakerKhazaal) February 1, 2016
— Karen Rouse (@rouse_karen) February 1, 2016
— Robert Jackson (@RJackson_NYC) February 1, 2016
RIP to a friend of AllHipHop, journalist Michael Feeney. He was only 32, but he left an… https://t.co/75qIXXvxfG
— allhiphopcom (@allhiphopcom) February 1, 2016
— Anna-Lysa Gayle ™ (@WLKYAnnalysa) February 1, 2016
— The central park 5 (@santanaraymond) February 1, 2016
— Andale Gross (@AndaleGross) February 1, 2016
Aw man. We lost one of the good guys today. Michael was a phenomenal reporter. A magnificent man. Damn. RIP brother. https://t.co/IKQpUVUQUQ
— Michael Skolnik (@MichaelSkolnik) February 1, 2016
Along with his mother, Michael Feeney is survived by his sister, Maria Feeney, his twin brother, Anthony Feeney, and a niece and nephew. Feeney’s funeral arrangements have not been revealed as of Wednesday, February 3. A memorial fund has been set up in his honor with the proceeds to be sent to Michael’s family. The fund has already surpassed its original goal of $20,000 and has raised nearly $23,000.
[Photo via Shutterstock]