Santa Monica Daily Press Managing Editor Daniel Archuleta, who began as a sportswriter and photographer with the paper in 2007 and continued to cover local youth sports with zeal, died on July 16 after a sudden bout with an unknown illness, according to his family. He was 38.

“He was always a happy person. He was really upbeat and passionate,” said Paul Alvarez, a Daily Press photographer who, as a teenage Santa Monica College student three years ago, found a mentor in Archuleta. “I owe him a lot. He helped me not just from a professional standpoint but about life as well.”

Archuleta is survived by his wife of  20 years, Gali, and daughters Lila, 9, and Gaby, 8.

“My uncle never put up a front about who he was. He was Daniel at home and Daniel at work,” said niece Melissa Archuleta, 27. “He was always so positive, and funny — oh, he was funny.”

Friends have set up a fund for the family at, so far raising $9,400.

Family members are awaiting autopsy results to learn how Archuleta died, and a private memorial is pending.

“He woke up, wasn’t feeling well. He passed out and didn’t wake up again,” Melissa Archuleta said.

— Joe Piasecki