WARNING: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander readers are advised that this article contains images of a deceased person.
Warrnambool's Sheldon Broderick has been remembered as a passionate artist and loyal friend who gave everyone a second chance.
The 48-year-old man died in a Melbourne hospital last Thursday after he was hit with a bat outside a Geelong take away shop on June 20.
It is understood Mr Broderick was attempting to steal a charity tin containing $15 when he was confronted by a nearby resident and an altercation occurred.
Mr Broderick was struck to the head with the bat and taken to hospital where he later died.
Homicide Squad detectives are investigating the circumstances surrounding his death.
A Victoria Police spokesperson said detectives interviewed a 31-year-old Corio resident last week and he was released pending further inquiries.
Mr Broderick was living between Warrnambool and Norlane and was preparing for a large art installation at Warrnambool's Cassady's Bridge in the days before his death.
Warrnambool's Ricky Merrifield said he met Mr Broderick in prison and he'd been staying at the home of he and his wife Simone.
Mr Merrifield said the pair had an instant bond and they found solace in art while in custody.
Mr Broderick was heavily involved in The Torch program, which supports Indigenous prisoners to explore their culture and identity through art.
His piece titled Journey of the Black Cockatoo is featured on The Torch website.
Upon their release, Mr Merrifield said their passion for art continued in the community, including at Tower Hill where the pair painted a number of timber picnic chairs as part of Worn Gundidj.
Mr Merrifield said he was shocked and saddened by his friend's death.
He said he didn't know what Mr Broderick was doing at the Geelong shop in the days before his death.
"We know he went down there to help someone who was struggling because that's just what he was like," he told The Standard.
"He was always trying to help someone out, was always giving people second chances."
Mr Merrifield said his friend had a troubled upbringing, suffering significant trauma in foster care as a child.
He said Mr Broderick's trauma led him down the wrong path and he found himself abusing drugs and serving stints in jail, including five years for robbery.
It was during that sentence the two men met.
Mr Merrifield said his mate was released from custody with limited supports and no money.
He said Mr Broderick found himself back on the streets "with nothing but the clothes on his back".
"It's extremely difficult to find your feet. Sheldon got out and didn't have the money or a phone to even contact his family," he said.
Mr Merrifield said while Mr Broderick was floating between homes he was looking for more stable accommodation.
Mr Broderick's family, who reside interstate, said he called and asked for money the night before the incident.
"He was trying to get himself back on track and needed help but unfortunately we weren't in a position to offer any money," Mr Broderick's ex-partner Kym Whyte said.
"I hate the fact that he was so selfless to anybody all the time and we couldn't help him in his last moments. I keep thinking that this could all have been avoided."
Mrs Whyte said Mr Broderick had a heart of gold and was an "incredible" father to their three children Schehara, Baydan and Mackaelah.
Mackaelah said when her father was around, everyone felt "connected and happy".
Baydan said he loved his dad and would miss his humour and their rap battles.
South-west Indigenous elder Uncle Lenny Clarke attended the Alfred Hospital last week to perform a spiritual ceremony on Mr Broderick before his death.
"Mr Broderick's family and extended families situated throughout Australia viewed the spiritual ceremony," he said.
"It was very confronting to see his young two young adult children very distraught living in hope that he would wake up before the final ceremony. No human should have to die such a public and violent death."
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