He was 34.
His death was confirmed by his aunt, Peggy Cooper Cafritz, who said that Cooper had felt dizzy and had chest pain shortly before he collapsed. Cooper—better known to friends and family as “Jay”—had just gotten engaged last week.
Cooper got his start in 2000 when he served as co-host of the popular BET show Teen Summit. He accepted the gig when he was still in high school, and held the position through college.
After joining the Marine Corps for a brief period, Cooper served as policy directy for the D.C. Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy. In 2012, he ran for a D.C. Council Seat as an independent, but lost. However, that didn’t crush his political dreams. Just last month, he announced that he would be running for a Ward 4 council seat. He had just participated in a Ferguson protest on Monday.
“He loved the city, and he loved serving the people in the city, from the elderly to the young,” Cafritz said. “Jay was just on the verge of bursting forth.”
Our thoughts and prayers are with Cooper’s fiance and family.