News from the Seaford School District Wednesday that 15-year-old Joseph Tutaj had died suddenly while on a band trip in California had locals reeling in sympathy.
In the comments section of Wednesday's story, several readers expressed their sadness and offered condolences for Tutaj and his family.
Patrick M. wrote, "He was a great kid who was very involved in the Seaford community. My condolences to his family. Rest in peace."
Maria Brazius recalled Tutaj as a "sweet well mannered kind boy," referring to his death as a "loss to his family and our community."
Joe said, "Heaven has a new trumpeter; Joe will be looking down on his family, he will always be there in spirit."
Even former alumni and band members offered messages of sympathy.
Robert W. Kelly wrote, "Prayers are with the family. From a 1971 Seaford High Band Alumni."
From Cynthia Marshall: "I felt terrible reading this (I live in Arizona and was a SHS 1979 graduate who also went on to band trips in '78 to New Orleans and '79 to Belgium). My heart goes out to out to the deceased, their family, fellow band members, teachers and students at SHS."
On the Wantagh-Seaford Facebook page, Sharron Papaccio wrote "That is just absolutely heartbreaking."
Marlene Bazan-Bancharan added, "This is a parent's worst nightmare...my thoughts and prayers to the family, school staff and the students during this difficult time."
Karen DeSalvo of Wantagh wrote, "My heart goes out to this family and this child's friends...so hard to lose someone so young."