Joel Odom, who ran in the 2019 Democratic primary against Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles; was reportedly found dead in his home on Thursday (February 25). He was 22.
Odom, who entered the mayoral race at 20, was the youngest candidate in the field of five Dems and finished fourth with 3.6 percent of the vote.
“Someone has to inspire young people,” Odom told WBTV in 2019. “That’s the only solution. Someone has to really care about the individuals in Charlotte, and I care.
Joel Odom also told The Charlotte Observer that he was inspired to run after “seeing so many young people dying on the street.”
After being defeated, Odom continued to work in his community. In October 2020, he partnered with the Salvation Army Center of Hope for Women and Children and Regal Little Miss Teen North Carolina to host a donation drive. During it, donors were asked to drop off bed sheets, blankets, socks, and health products for the shelter, which sleeps more than 300 women and children.
It isn’t clear at this time how Odom passed away. A family member told WBTV that Odom’s father found his body inside a bathroom in his residence.
As word of Odom’s death spread, people took to social media to express their shock and sadness.
“Life is so short and unpredictable,” Charlotte City Council member Dimple Ajmera tweeted. “Joel taught us to express our love to family and friends. I’m so glad to have told him how much he was loved by our family. Joel left this world a better place with his infectious smile, courage and the vision for better tomorrow. We’ll forever cherish our time with you friend.”