Journalists, writers and members of the media mourn this week at the passing of rising star Michael J. Feeney. He was only 32 years old.

Feeney, NY Association of Black Journalists president and winner of the Emerging Artist of the Year Award from the NABJ, died ultimately from a staph infection after suffering kidney failure, New York Daily News reports.

Staph infections are caused by staphylococcus bacteria, types of germs commonly found on the skin or in the nose of even healthy individuals. Most of the time, these bacteria cause no problems or result in relatively minor skin infections.

But staph infections can turn deadly if the bacteria invade deeper into your body, entering your bloodstream, joints, bones, lungs or heart. A growing number of otherwise healthy people are developing life-threatening staph infections.

Staph can be spread person-to-person and is very contagious.

Common symptoms include boils and oozing blisters. Staph can also cause food poisoning resulting in nausea, vomiting, and stomach ache. In rare cases, staph infections can turn deadly if the bacteria invade deeper into the body or enters the bloodstream resulting in fever, joint, and muscle pain.

Treatment often includes drainage of the infection and antibiotics. Strains of staph that no longer respond to common antibiotics are called MRSA.

The award winning reporter joined NY Daily News in 2009 and was on track to achieve his lifetime goal — to be an entertainment reporter at when he fell ill. He became known for his exclusive interviews with celebrities such as Jay-Z, Beyoncé and Rihanna.

Michael graduated from Delaware State University in 2005. He went on to work for The Associated Press & The Record.

“Mike did everything to help everyone,” his mother, Reba Willis, said Sunday. “He did whatever he could with any person who he came across who wanted to know anything about journalism and about life.”

On its website Sunday, the chapter where he was president remembered Mr. Feeney “as a constant voice for those working tirelessly in media. Professionally, Michael worked long and hard to bring his stories to the pages of so many New York and New Jersey publications. He was an award-winning journalist who clearly loved what he did and made a true impact on so many lives.”

Young Leader In Journalism, Michael Feeney Died At 32 was originally published on