SEAFORD, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – An online memorial fund has been set up to help the family of a Long Island high school sophomore who died after falling ill during a class trip to California.
Joseph Tutaj traveled to Los Angeles earlier this month with the Seaford High School marching band to perform at Disneyland.
The 15-year-old died last Tuesday after he was hospitalized with a high fever.
It’s unclear exactly what caused his death. The school said in a statement that hospital officials confirmed the illness was not contagious.
Friends and family said he had no known medical problems.
The tragedy is just the latest in a series of hard times for Tutaj’s family.
His father is battling stage four cancer; the family also lost their home in Superstorm Sandy and have been living temporarily in Bethpage.
The teen’s uncle, Joseph Dolan, has set up a memorial fund to help pay for Tutaj’s funeral and other expenses. For more information on how to donate click here.
Tutaj was a rising star in the school band, playing both the trumpet and the French horn. He also had participated in Model Congress, the Boy Scouts and math competitions.
Friends and relatives said his body will be returned home Wednesday.
A wake for Tutaj will be held Saturday from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Charles G. Schmitt Funeral Home on Merrick Road in Seaford. The funeral mass will be 10 a.m. Monday at St. William the Abbot in Seaford.