THE COMMUNITY is rallying together following the death of a homeless man sleeping rough in Basildon.

Tributes have been paid to Lee Tyler from members of the public who had become accustomed to seeing his “kind face” on the streets.

Mr Tyler passed away over the weekend, with his body found near to Asda in the town centre on Sunday morning.

Since, tributes have been paid to the “friendly man”, who was regularly seen sitting with a dog near the supermarket.

His half-sister, Jessie Hagger, has taken to social media to detail Lee’s life and battle with both drugs and homelessness, hoping to help others avoid the “pitfalls of drugs”.

Basildon Council confirmed following the death that Lee had been known to them, and support had been offered but refused.

Flowers have been laid near Asda, while Sky Butcher, of the Homeless Help in Basildon group, is organising a fundraiser and urged people to visit the group’s Facebook page.

Michelle Morris, 42, told the Echo that Lee was always quick to smile and say thank you when her and her daughter gave him change or food.

She said: “It is really sad news. I couldn’t believe it when I heard. Lee was almost part of the furniture over near Asda, I could guarantee he would be there and he would always smile and nod at my daughter.

“We would chuck him some change, or buy him a sandwich or something little, and he would always say thank you, and you could see he appreciated it. It is just so sad that in this day and age people are dying because they have nowhere to live.”

Basildon’s emergency night shelters are due to open for the winter on Monday, but Phyl McLaren, chairman of the Basildon Homelessness Working Group, told the Echo it is unlikely Lee would have used a night shelter, due to staying with his dog.

Part of Miss Hagger’s Facebook post read: “He was offered rehab on numerous occasions but always refused, he didn’t want to change.

“Lee was a sociopath, very charming and a really nice guy, was very intelligent but had no empathy, remorse or conscience, what Lee wanted he got, beg, borrow or steal.

“He chose to live on the streets and he chose to take heroin despite of all our efforts to help him. Lee Tyler marked all our lives in a very negative way and we have all suffered his addiction.” Visit