Damon Weaver, the young Black reporter who famously interviewed President Barack Obama in 2009, was confirmed by his family to have died from natural causes on May 1. He was 23 years old. The Pahokee, FL native originally made international headlines when, as an 11-year-old fifth-grader at K.E. Cunningham/Canal Point Elementary School, he became the youngest person to ever conference with a sitting president.
“He was loved by everyone,” Weaver’s sister Candace 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 a face, and he was always a joy to be around. He left an impact on a lot of people.”
Prior to his visit with President Obama, Weaver shared with the Associated Press what motivated him so early in life to pursue journalism. “I liked seeing people on TV, so I thought that I could do that job one day,” he said. “I like being a reporter because you get to learn a lot of things, you get to meet nice people, and you get to travel a lot.”
Oprah, Samuel L. Jackson, and the 3x NBA champ Dwyane Wade are among some of the high-profile names that Weaver counted on his remarkable list of interviewees. Weaver even proudly told the Palm Beach Post in 2015 that the Miami Heat legend thought he was a “cool person.” “Dwyane Wade was impressive, and he gave me good advice,” he said. “He told me to stick with my dreams.”
However, it was Weaver’s 2008 sit-down with then-Senator Joe Biden that garnered Weaver great attention, and he memorably asked Biden if he would be his homeboy, to which Biden agreed. Weaver then extended the same offer to Obama some months later. “When I interviewed Vice President Joe Biden, he became my homeboy,” Weaver told the newly elected first Black president of the United States. “Now that I interviewed you, would you like to become my homeboy?” Obama promptly accepted Weaver’s invitation and responded, “Absolutely.”
Weaver graduated last year from Albany State University in Georgia, where he received a full scholarship and had plans to continue his passion with the NFL.
Rev. William Holmes, Weaver’s pastor, spoke highly of the man to WTVR. “He was one of the few, one of the handpicked, that had that inspiration to be a great individual,” Holmes said of Weaver, “and when someone passes along, and they have that greatness, that greatness goes with them.”
Weaver’s family is still awaiting the final word as to what was a possible reason for his sudden passing. Hardy said the family is remaining strong and faithful, however. “It’s been hard, but we’re getting through it,” she said. “Like I said, we’ll continue to pray and press forward.”