Damon Weaver, kid reporter who interviewed President Obama, dies at age 23

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As an intrepid student reporter whose dreams carried him all the way to an interview in the White House with President Barack Obama, Damon Weaver found himself in the national spotlight at a young age. It was his dream to tell the stories of others as a professional journalist.

Weaver, who in 2009 became the youngest person to conduct an interview with a sitting president, died May 1 at age 23, his sister, Candace Hardy, confirmed Thursday. She said his death was due to natural causes.

Weaver was just 11 years old when he met with President Obama for about 10 minutes in the White House Diplomatic Room on Aug. 13, 2009, asking 12 questions that focused primarily on education and schools.

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."

As a student, Damon Weaver met President Biden, NFL stars, Oprah Winfrey

It was one of many notable moments for Weaver. Hardy recalled her brother's outgoing, gregarious personality.

"He was just a nice person, genuine, very intelligent," she said. "Very outspoken, outgoing. He never said no to anybody. He was very helpful."

Weaver, who most recently lived in West Palm Beach, graduated from Royal Palm Beach High School, earning a scholarship to Albany State University in Georgia. He was pursuing a degree in communications and planned to return to the university in the fall, Hardy said. He wanted to pursue a career in sports journalism covering the National Football League, she said.

Hardy said that one of the things her brother enjoyed most about journalism was the chance to meet new people.

Damon Weaver, the kid reporter who interviewed President Barack Obama, has died. He was 23.
Damon Weaver, the kid reporter who interviewed President Barack Obama, has died. He was 23.

In addition to interviewing a president, Weaver's resume also included interviews with President Joe Biden, then a U.S. senator and a candidate for vice president; Miami Heat basketball star Dwyane Wade; and media mogul Oprah Winfrey.

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"Dwyane Wade was impressive and he gave me good advice," Weaver told The Palm Beach Post in a 2015 interview. "He told me to stick with my dreams. And he told me that I'm a 'cool' person."

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In addition to pursuing his own journalism dream, Weaver become a mentor to other aspiring young journalists.

Damon Weaver near his home in Royal Palm Beach. The Royal Palm Beach senior grabbed the national spotlight by interviewing President Barack Obama and other popular figures while a student at Kathryn E. Cunningham//Canal Point Elementary.
Damon Weaver near his home in Royal Palm Beach. The Royal Palm Beach senior grabbed the national spotlight by interviewing President Barack Obama and other popular figures while a student at Kathryn E. Cunningham//Canal Point Elementary.

"A lot of people looked up to him," Hardy said. "With him being so young, he made a way for more students to engage in journalism."

Hardy said Weaver hoped to one day buy his mother a house and, more immediately, his dream car, a Camaro.

"He was loved by everyone," she said. "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."

A funeral service will be held at Saturday.

This article originally appeared on Palm Beach Post: Obama interviewer and kid reporter Damon Weaver dies at 23