DOWNTOWN — Michael Rosenthal, the publisher and co-founder of the Santa Monica Mirror, died this week after a long battle with renal cell cancer.

The memorials began pouring in soon after the local businessman’s death on Wednesday morning, friends — including childhood buddies — expressing their condolences on his Facebook page.

“So sad to lose this old friend,” one woman wrote.

He turned 56 on July 30.

A resident of the Pacific Palisades, Rosenthal founded the local weekly newspaper in 1999 with Deborah Daly, who serves as the art director, and Peggy Clifford, who was the editor and today writes for the Santa Monica Dispatch.

“Michael loved the newspaper,” Daly said. “He loved it.”

She met Rosenthal 18 years ago at Instant Replay, a video security systems company that was founded by his father, Carl Rosenthal. The younger Rosenthal served as the president and Daly was responsible for sales.

The newspaper came out of Rosenthal’s desire for creativity.

“He appreciated people who were creative,” Daly said, noting that his first wife was a photographer and his current wife, Laurie Rosenthal, is a writer. “He loves the idea of being creative and this gave him that ability.”

Ross Furukawa, the publisher of the Santa Monica Daily Press, called Rosenthal a “great leader, gentleman and friend.”

“As a fellow local publisher, we had a unique view of the town that was always intriguing to discuss,” he said.

Laurel Rosen, the president of the Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce, described Rosenthal as a “man of integrity” who always kept his word and spoke honestly.

They became friends through a partnership in which the Mirror publishes the chamber’s directories.

“Standing up for the community was important to him and his paper,” she said. “It was sometimes controversial but was done with a big heart.”

Rosenthal is survived by his wife, Laurie, and son Dylan.

A memorial is scheduled for 10 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 13, at Mount Sinai, 5950 Forest Lawn Drive in Los Angeles.

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