David Anthony Currie was found in a basement unit on South Street, near Dalhousie University, in March 2011. ((Phonse Jessome/CBC))

A Halifax man has pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the death of a 59-year-old man who was stabbed to death in the city's south end almost two years ago.

Halifax Regional Police discovered the body of David Anthony Currie when they were called to the basement unit of a South Street apartment building on March 3, 2011.

Qian Zhang, 49, was arrested and charged with second-degree murder. His trial was set to begin Monday in Nova Scotia Supreme Court but he pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of manslaughter instead.

Police said Currie and Zhang knew each other and both lived at the apartment building at 6128 South St.

Currie's family said he had served as an aid worker in Africa for CUSO-VSO and for the United Nations before suffering memory loss after returning from Africa. He was unable to find work and ended up living in the rooming house and was on social assistance.

Currie's daughter Jacqueline said she's disappointed Zhang will be sentenced on the lesser charge of second-degree murder but is hoping Monday's developments mean she's closer to learning why her father was killed. 

She said her father was a good man. 

"I'd like him to be remembered for all the good he did in the world because he was a good guy. He was a humanitarian for most of his adult life, he graduated from [St. Mary's University] at 19 and went overseas," said Jacqueline Currie.

"He was just a very caring and helpful man and always put the needs of others ahead of his own, a very selfless person." 

She said she struggles with her father's death. 

"I feel like it was just yesterday that he was here, I don't feel like he's completely gone," said Jacqueline.  

"I miss him dearly and I wish that I could just pick up the phone — sometimes I want to pick up the phone or send him an email and then I'm like, 'I can't, because he's gone.' So it's hard when I really think about it."

Zhang is due back in court on March 27 for sentencing.