On a busy stretch of 7th Street in the Elizabeth neighborhood Thursday night, William Larry Major stepped into the road, was struck by a car and died.
Almost instantly, Charlotte Facebook and Twitter accounts were awash in messages honoring the man known to many as "Chilly Willy."
A quick search on YouTube yields a taste of the fondness Chilly Willy inspired in people: wild-haired and tattooed, breaking into song, as he engaged people on street corners.
"These walls and bars are surrounding me! Chilly Willy wants to be free!," he sings in one clip.