Days before his death, homeless Wayne "Mousey" Perry spoke about how he slept on the streets with "one eye open in case he was robbed or stabbed".
On Sunday, Mr Perry, 43, was attacked and stabbed in central Melbourne before first light.
He was taken to hospital but did not survive.
Mr Perry had been known to homeless services since the late 1980s.
The Salvation Army's Major Brendan Nottle, who met Mr Perry as a teenager seeking refuge in Fitzroy, described him as an incredibly generous survivor who had a kind and appreciative heart.
"It is incredibly sad, an absolute tragedy and it hits hard," Major Nottle told AAP.
"It's a complete waste of life."
He said Mr Perry had spoken to a journalist about life on the streets days before his death and said: "You always have to sleep with one eye open because you never know who's going to rob you or stab you."
"It was almost a premonition to his death," Major Nottle said.
The Salvation Army had tried everything they could to get Mr Perry off the streets, but personal issues had prevented him seeking accommodation, Major Nottle said.
"He kept saying, I've got things I'm trying to sort through and then I'll go in," he said.
On Tuesday, Easton Woodhead, 19, appeared in the Melbourne Magistrates Court charged with murdering Mr Perry, whose full name is Morgan Wayne Perry.
The court was told that it was Woodhead's first time in custody.
Magistrate Andrew Capell said Woodhead was at risk of self harm and had mental health issues.
He asked that Woodhead be seen by a doctor as soon as possible.
The court was told that Woodhead was a cannabis user and was withdrawing from the drug while on remand.
Woodhead was remanded in custody to appear in the same court on May 27.