Award-Winning Reporter, Former NYABJ Leader, Feeney 32, Dies

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Feeney. Photo:

Former Harlem reporter Michael J. Feeney for the Daily News in New York City died on Sunday afternoon due to a kidney staph infection according to his family.

Feeney, 32, who was also the former president for the New York Association of Black Journalists, went to Holy Name Medical Center last Tuesday in his hometown of Teaneck, N.J. after experiencing stomach pains. Five days later he went into cardiac arrest around 1:15pm said multiple media outlets.

"It's going to be a hard pill to swallow for everyone," his mom Reba Willis told the Daily News. "He had so much more to accomplish. He is truly going to be missed."

Ms. Willis also said that he was preparing to move to Atlanta to work for CNN as an entertainment reporter.

Feeney joined the Daily News in 2009 covering the neighborhood of Harlem. At the paper, he also contributed to their entertainment section interviewing the likes of Jay-Z, Rhianna and Drake said his LinkedIn profile. He was an accomplished writer who was named emerging journalist of the year by the National Association of Black Journalists in 2010. A year later he was elected president of organization’s New York Chapter.

A statement from the organization’s website read in part: He was a dedicated leader of the organization and an outstanding journalist... He was a mentor to so many just starting out as journalists and a constant voice for those working tirelessly in media.

A social media enthusiast with over 5,000 Facebook friends, even notables like the Rev. Al Sharpton and New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio mourned his death.

“Just heard that Michael Feeney, young dynamic journalist died,” tweeted the Rev. Al Sharpton. “A good brother and fine journalist. Sad news, RIP Michael.”

The Mayor remembered him as a “leader” and a “rising star" on Twitter as well.

"I want him to be remembered as a leader, confident, overall humanitarian and motivator," Dawn Tennent, Feeney's cousin said. "He called me three days before he passed and asked me if I wanted a red corvette. Told him I want a million dollars. He said, 'whatever you want, I'll get it for you.' We could all take a page from his book."

His media colleague Ivette Davila-Richards, vice president for broadcast of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, wrote on his Facebook page that he was “so about diversity in the newsroom, in life. And always had a smile and a happy dance."

When he was laid off from the News in 2014, he became a freelancer for media outlets such as the Record in Hackensack, N.J;; Ebony magazine and NBC News.

Feeney was a graduate of Delaware State University and member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity.

He is survived by his mother, sister, Maria Feeney,  twin brother, Anthony Feeney and cousins including Tennent.To help cover funeral arrangements, his family set up the following page

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