Edmonton police are now calling the suspicious death of Demetrios Karahalios a homicide.
Karahalios, 48, was a cook at Woody's and Buddy's, two bars on Jasper Avenue.
He was found dead in his Oliver neighbourhood home on Saturday after staff became concerned because he didn't show up.
Jim Brown, owner of the two clubs, went to the house with a manager.
"We found the door unlocked and we went in and unfortunately we found him deceased," Brown said. "And it was obviously that it wasn't natural causes. So we left immediately and called the police."
Brown says the death of the man known as Jimmy or his drag name, Coco, has been devastating for staff.
"With the hours that we keep, we end up being each other's friends because of that," he said. "So you end up being a tight-knit family. The staff have taken it very hard. They feel like they’ve lost a brother.”
Karahalios was best known for his sense of humour and his readiness to help people in need. Many times that meant he would cheer people up with a joke. Other times he would give people money or even let them stay at his house.
Brown fears that kindheartedness may have led to his death.
“I really hope it’s not the case but he was forever helping people out, even people on the street." Brown said.
Dozens of people attended a candlelight vigil for Karahalios at a park near his home on Tuesday night.
Garry Samuels was close friends with Karahalios for 16 years.
"When Coco walked in the room — Jimmy —you knew he was there," he said. "He'd always ask how you're doing or if he is way across the room, he'd wave and just acknowledge you were there."
Samuels is still trying to understand why anyone would want to take the life of his friend, who he described as generous and friendly.
"It's hard, hurtful," he said.
An autopsy has been completed, but police are not releasing the cause of death.
The death is Edmonton’s 5th homicide of the year.