Martin Purcell, 54, was partially stripped and had his throat slashed and body lacerated with multiple stab wounds by unknown assailants.
Early indications are that his death was caused by a massive throat wound.
The nature of the attack has horrified his friends in the local area and left his family devastated.
“The hardest thing to understand is how anybody could do something like this to Martin, who was such a kind and nice person, who was always very helpful to everybody he knew,” said his friend Stephanie Naughton, one of a group of people who gathered yesterday afternoon as his body was being removed from his home in Limerick city.
“He loved music and if you wanted to find out anything about music, Martin was the person you would ask,” she said.
Mr Purcell’s body was found in the upstairs apartment in Wickham Street, just off William Street, where he had been living alone for some years.
He retired from a skilled job in Eircom three years ago and is survived by his estranged wife and two adult children, who live in Britain.
A resident in the building raised the alarm at around 10.30am yesterday when he could hear no sound from the overhead apartment, where Mr Purcell lived on the third floor.
Mr Purcell was last seen on Tuesday, and may have been dead for several days.
Publican Patsy Flannery, whose premises on Wickham Street is just a few doors from the murder scene, said: “Martin was a tall, quiet man who came in to the bar in the mornings for a few drinks. He kept to himself and did not talk a lot, but just nod when somebody would say hello.”
John O’Dwyer, from Thomondgate, said he regularly came across Mr Purcell in Flannery’s pub.
“I lived near him in Norwood Park years ago and in fact I bought my house there from his father,” he said. “He was very quiet. It had to be somebody he knew, and we are all shocked that he had such a violent death. He did not seem to have many friends, but he was not a man who would have enemies.”
Another perso, who asked not to be named, said “undesirable elements” had been seen coming up to Mr Purcell.
Assistant state pathologist Dr Khalid Jabbar carried out a postmortem examination after the body was removed to the Mid-Western Regional Hospital.
Gardaí have gathered CCTV footage from Wickham Street and William Street. Supt Frank O’Brien has appealed for anyone who was in the area last Tuesday to contact gardaí.