MILWAUKEE, Wis. - It was a very sad ending for a homeless man in Milwaukee after authorities found the man completely frozen inside his white Ford pickup truck with a bottle of alcohol stuck in his hand.
The Milwaukee County Medical Examiner identified the victim as 57-year-old Phillip Benham, a former Navy Seal who apparently died all alone in the bitter cold.
"The family said that if he was going to die, it was going to be from alcohol," Benham's friend, Mark Stephany, shared.
Stephany says Benham was an alcoholic who died of a broken heart.
"I did the tough love thing. Sent him the places to get help," Stephany said. "Everyone refused him. And so he stayed on the street in his truck. He drank himself- and froze to death."
Benham's friend says he had been living with a woman in a trailer until she kicked him out because he had started drinking again.
Authorities found Benham in his truck on a dead end street.
"It didn't look like him," Stephany said. "Someone that had aged 50 years overnight."
Friends called Benham a 'gentle giant with a big heart.'
Now they are mourning his loss, saying it is a reminder why compassion and caring for the homeless is so important-- especially this time of year.
"Check on your loved ones if they're out there," Stephany pleaded.
Perhaps Benham's story will touch others so his tragic passing won't be in vain.