Aspiring journalist who at 11 interviewed President Obama has died at 23

‘He was loved by everyone. No matter if it was a stranger, his mom or a family member, he was just a ball of light with so much energy,” the sister of Damon Weaver says

Gino Spocchia
Monday 17 May 2021 08:50 BST
11-year-old Damon Weaver interviews Barack Obama

An aspiring journalist, believed to be the youngest person ever to interview a sitting US president, has died at the age of 23.

Damon Weaver was 11 years old when he interviewed former president Barack Obama in 2009 during his first year in office.

His sister, Candace Hardy, told the Palm Beach Post on Thursday that her brother died of natural causes on 1 May.

Mr Weaver was a student at Canal Point Elementary School in Palm Beach, Florida when he had the sit-down with Mr Obama in the Diplomatic Room of the White House. He asked the US leader around 12 questions, including if he and the president could be “homeboys”.

“Absolutely,” Mr Obama told him. “You did a great job at this interview, so someone must be doing something right at that school.”

Telling Mr Obama that he noticed the Democrat was “bullied a lot,” the schoolboy then asked for advice.

Mr Obama responded: “I wasn’t bullied too much in school, I was pretty big for my age, but obviously it’s a terrible thing, bullying, and I hope all young people out there understand that they should treat each other with respect”.

Damon Weaver, graduating from ASU, Georgia

The 11-year-old’s interview with Mr Obama followed an interview with Joe Biden in October 2008, who was then a senator for Delaware and Mr Obama’s running mate.

“I’ve been a senator a long time and there’s a lot of things I know a little bit about,” Mr Biden told him during a visit to his school. “My job is to say to Mr Barack Obama if I think he’s wrong”.

The budding reporter told the Associated Press in 2009: “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”.

He went on to interview NFL players and Oprah Winfrey during his school years. Mr Weaver obtained a full scholarship to Albany State University (ASU) in Georgia, and in an Instagram post said he had graduated in 2020.

Ms Hardy told the Palm Beach Post that her brother wanted to pursue a career in sports journalism.

“He was loved by everyone. No matter if it was a stranger, his mom or a family member, he was just a ball of light with so much energy,” Ms Hardy told the Post.

“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 was scheduled for 15 May.

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