A homeless man who died a violent death is being remembered as a friendly guy who loved his family, but his battle with the bottle cost him dearly.
Police today confirmed they are treating the death of Maqbool Hussain, 49, as a homicide.
Flowers have been placed outside the vacant grocery store on Dominion Rd where his body was found on Monday afternoon. The store is opposite the Balmoral Police station.
Areeb Taimoori said he was neighbours with Hussain during the 1990s. At that time, Hussain worked as a taxi driver and lived with his wife and daughter in Mt Roskill.
The family had been very happy until alcohol cost Hussain his job and wife, he said
"He was a very genuinely nice guy, but he had a problem with alcohol. It broke his family apart."
His daughter, who was about seven at the time, was a "piece of his heart", he said.
"He loved his daughter. When he separated from his wife, that was the biggest shock of his life."
His wife and daughter moved to Australia and Hussain began living on the street.
"It's really sad he had to die by himself. He had a beautiful family, brothers and a lot of people who knew him."
Hello Sailor frontman Graham Brazier, who runs a bookshop on Dominion Rd, said he regularly shared a friendly smile with Hussain.
"He was very well dressed and always said hello. I have heard that if he drank he could get a little abusive ... but I never saw that side of him.
"He didn't seem aggressive."
Hussain could often be sitting on a bench outside the Hollywood Dairy on Dominion Rd.
Brazier said he was shocked to hear of his violent death. "It's somebody I won't say hello in passing to anymore."
Local resident Dave Watson said people who lived nearby kept an eye out.
Another resident, Jane, who withheld her last name, said Hussain had even touched the heart of a school boy aged about 13 who brought food to the homeless man.
"It just shows how lovely and compassionate people can be, he was just so sad when he heard."
Hussain had been living rough in the partially enclosed storage area for almost a year.
Detective Inspector Chris Cahill said he had been fatally assaulted between 6.30pm on Saturday and midday on Monday.
The man was known to frequent local businesses along Dominion Rd.
Hussain had hit hard times and lived rough, but maintained a routine and kept his living area clean, he said.
Police have already spoken to people who saw Hussain alive on Saturday.
"We're obviously very interested in hearing from anyone who has information about who he might have had interactions with recently."
Hussain is survived by an estranged wife and daughter who live overseas.
He is originally from Pakistan but has lived in New Zealand since 1992.
Police were continuing with inquiries along Halston St and Dominion Rd today.
His funeral was held today at 3.30 at Waikumete Cemetery.