All week Patrick Crowe had been looking forward to catching up with his mates on Saturday night.
But as Saturday night turned into Sunday morning, Mr Crowe and two friends were confronted by a group of four or five men as they walked on Argyle Street, Parramatta.
The 22-year-old apprentice chef was stabbed on the left side of his abdomen and taken to Westmead Hospital. He died five hours later, at 7am yesterday, after emergency surgery. Today, his boss at the Park Avenue Cafe in Hurstville said it would be a different place without him.
"There's a different mood in the place today," owner Daniel Pittman said. "He was a very kind person, very easygoing, easy to talk to. He never really got too upset with anything - he was a happy-go-lucky type of guy.
"He was here at the cafe a lot, he worked long hours and was involved in pretty much every part of the kitchen. He was a very involved team member. Naturally everyone here is pretty upset, even customers."
Mr Crowe had a big circle of friends from Pendle Hill, where he grew up, and in Mortdale, where he lived, Mr Pittman said.
"He was a really good friend to his friends. He'd been talking about going out with them, he was pretty excited."
Friends have set up a memorial page on Facebook, posting photos of Mr Crowe out with friends or posing in his chef whites.
"You could b [sic] miles apart but you are always in our hearts," one person wrote.
Justin Byrnes said Mr Crowe was his best friend and "things will never be the same again".
"I'm lost in the world without him!" he wrote.
I've just left this young man's family and we're trying to explain ... how [their] son goes out last night for a night out and isn't coming home this morning
Another friend said: "will never [forget] the xmas patty spent with us, the first time I ever met him. Won my mum's heart with a cup of tea and some toast..... heart of gold..."
Yesterday Superintendent Robert Redfern said the death of Mr Crowe, who would have turned 23 early next month, had left police trying to explain to his family what went wrong.
"I've just left this young man's family and we're trying to explain ... how [their] son goes out last night for a night out and isn't coming home this morning," Superintendent Redfern said.
"That's one of the worst things you do as a police officer. We can't explain it."
Superintendent Redfern said knives were "easily as dangerous as a gun".
"In this circumstance, they are a readily fatal weapon," he said.
Police urge witnesses to phone Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
- with AAP