Police are investigating the death of a former business high-flyer who died from an infection after a woman allegedly assaulted him with a mallet.
Lance John Bain died in hospital on December 3 after being rushed there by ambulance five days earlier.
The alleged assault happened in the West Auckland suburb of Ranui on November 17, but Mr Bain didn't immediately seek medical help.
Police are investigating on behalf of the Coroner, who requested they review the assault and "culmination of events" that led to Mr Bain's death.
The 43-year-old made his fortune selling cars and in property but lost millions of dollars in recent years after a difficult break-up from his wife Michele.
He was a fan of red Ferraris and had lived in some of Auckland's most exclusive suburbs, but lost all his property in mortgagee sales.
A close friend, Michael Ball, told the Weekend Herald he was planning a comeback and was hoping to start a new business venture when he died.
"He'd been at his lowest and he was making a comeback and wanted to start another business."
He said car dealers all called him "Mr South Auckland" because he was such an identity in the industry.
"He loved the colour red - had two red Ferraris and he painted his kitchen red and would pay more for a car if it was red."
But Mr Ball said his friend lost $8 million after his break-up which co-incided with the recession.
In 2005, the family featured in a Herald property story which said the family were moving out of their $2 million Orakei home because it was too big for them.
That house had a gym, internal courtyard with fireplace, air conditioning in three of the four bedrooms and a projection TV as well as views of Hobson Bay, the city and the harbour.
"It was like a domino effect how he lost everything. It just got worse and worse and worse."
The car industry "crashed" a couple of years back, at a time when Mr Bain was financing some car dealers in South Auckland, he said.
"The mortgages on a lot of properties were compounding because they weren't getting paid and they ended up selling for millions less than what they were worth."
Those properties included two waterfront sites in Pauanui that were sold "dirt cheap".
He was also deeply affected by not having contact with his two daughters.
Police would only say they were investigating on behalf of the Coroner.
But Mr Ball said he was told that his friend had been drinking at the address and went to sleep on the couch when he was attacked with a mallet.
He believed the woman read his cellphone while he was sleeping and saw that he had been sending text messages to another woman.
Later he showed him the bruising and said he would seek help for it but then they lost contact. The next he knew was that Mr Bain was in hospital suffering from blood poisoning.
He visited him four days before he died.
"He was talking a bit slower than usual but I thought he was on the mend, I really did."
Mr Ball only found out he had died through police.