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Santa Paula community mourns loss of local inspiration

SANTA PAULA, Calif. – The Santa Paula community mourned the loss of 25-year-old Keshaun Mata on March 21 after an ongoing battle with cancer.

The 25-year-old fought the disease for two decades, needing a leg amputation early on in his life.

This ailment didn't stop Mata from achieving his goals as he became the varsity starting quarterback for the football team while attending Santa Paula High School.

District superintendent Jefferey Weinstein shared his thoughts on the tragic loss of a beloved student and athlete.

Dear SPUSD Community,

It is with heavy hearts that we share the news of the passing of one of our esteemed Santa Paula High School graduates, Keshaun Mata. He was not only a student and stellar athlete, but a beloved member of our close-knit Santa Paula community.

Keshaun made significant contributions to our school community, particularly through his involvement in various sports programs at SPHS. His dedication, athleticism, and sportsmanship were exemplary, leaving a lasting mark on those who had the privilege of knowing him.

Beyond his achievements in athletics, Keshaun will be remembered for his warm spirit, infectious enthusiasm, and genuine kindness towards others. He touched the lives of many with the positive attitude he always displayed despite the many obstacles he faced.

As we mourn the loss of Keshaun, we extend our deepest sympathies and heartfelt condolences to his family, friends, and all those who were fortunate enough to have known him. During this difficult time, let us come together as a community to support one another and honor the memory of Keshaun Mata. A GoFundMe has been established to support Keshaun’s family, which can be found here: To learn more about the legacy he left at SPHS:

Jeffrey Weinstein, SPUSD Superintendent

Those who are financially able can donate to Mata's dedicated GoFundMe page for funeral expenses at this website.

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