Damon Weaver, the young, gifted and Black student reporter who interviewed President Barack Obama at the White House in 2009, died on May 1, at the age of 23, according to his family.
The cause of the young man’s death has not been released, but his sister, Candace Hardy, confirmed Thursday that he died of natural causes.
“He was loved by everyone,” Hardy told The Palm Beach Post. “No matter if it was a stranger, his mom or a family member, he was just a ball of light with so much energy. He was always positive, always had a smile on [his] face and he was always a joy to be around. He left an impact on a lot of people.”
Weaver was an 11-year-old student at Canal Point Elementary School in Canal Point, Fla., when he met and interviewed President Obama in the White House Diplomatic Room on Aug. 13, 2009.
From the Post:
Among their topics: bullying, school lunches, conflict resolution and how to succeed. Weaver finished by inviting Obama to visit his school and asked him to be his “homeboy,” noting that Vice President Joe Biden already had taken him up on the offer.
“Absolutely,” Obama said with a smile, shaking Weaver’s hand.
“It was a one-in-a-lifetime experience,” Hardy said. “That’s the only way to describe it. … It was life-changing for him.”
Weaver was looking forward to a career in journalism. According to CNN, he told Time Magazine in a 2009 interview that he “would like to be Wolf Blitzer.”
Besides being the “youngest person to conduct an interview with a sitting president,” according to the Post, Weaver also interviewed President Joe Biden when he was a U.S. Senator and vice presidential candidate, as well as Oprah Winfrey and NBA superstar Dwyane Wade, who he said gave him encouraging advice in 2015.
“Dwyane Wade was impressive and he gave me good advice,” he said. “He told me to stick with my dreams. And he told me that I’m a cool person.”
Weaver—who graduated from Royal Palm Beach High School and earned a scholarship to Albany State University in Georgia where he pursued a degree in communications—also happened to be a cub reporter for The Root in 2009. According to a former publisher for The Root Donna Byrd, Weaver covered a number of news stories and interviewed red carpet guests at The Root Inaugural Ball.
“He was a determined young reporter who was always eager to ask questions and learn,” Byrd said.
A celebration of life for Weaver was held Saturday afternoon at St. John’s First Baptist Church in Belle Glade, Fla., according to a Facebook post shared by Brown & Bussey’s Funeral Services.
Updated 5/18/2021, 9:29 a.m.: The story has been updated to clarify Damon Weaver’s role while working at The Root.