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Schenectady Student In "Laser-Cat" Photo Dies

A Schenectady High School student who gained national attention with a yearbook photo featuring his cat has died.

The parents of 17-year-old Draven Rodriguez told the Albany Times Union the cause of his death was suicide.

Rodriguez made headlines last fall when his proposed yearbook photo with his cat, “Mr. Bigglesworth," against a background of laser beams went viral.

After the photo was rejected, an online petition asking the school to reconsider was signed by thousands. In a compromise, the high school principal took a photo alongside Rodriguez and his cat with her pet Chihuahua for inclusion in the yearbook.

Lucas Willard is a news reporter and host at WAMC Northeast Public Radio, which he joined in 2011. He produces and hosts The Best of Our Knowledge and WAMC Listening Party.