DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – On the day Ian Brooks planned to celebrate his 26th birthday, his friends instead gathered to pay tribute to a life cut short.

People filled Trees Bar in Deep Ellum, buying raffle tickets and eyeing items up for auction to raise money to compensate Brooks’ family and co-workers for time missed from work.

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“They always say the good die young and in this case it’s extremely true,” said Brandy Alexander, Brooks’ girlfriend, who was set to move in with him later this week. He called her the night he died, as he left work.

“And he was like, ‘Babe, I’m out the door. I can’t wait to see you,” she said. Less than 15 minutes later, Dallas police say he was struck from behind while driving his motorcycle north on I-75. The driver responsible left the scene.

Alexander says several other drivers witnessed the crash, but police haven’t released a description of the suspect vehicle.

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“It hasn’t been easy knowing the person who killed Ian is still out on the road and hasn’t been found,” said Alexander.

Cliff Edgar, the owner of Brick & Bones, says Brooks started working for him two years ago and quickly climbed the ranks to become general manager. “He had an authenticity to him. Very genuine spirit.”

Brooks, in fact, once surprised his boss by getting a tattoo of the bar’s name to match his.

Brooks’ tattoo, though, wasn’t on his arm, like Edgar’s. “On his butt,” said Edgar, who appreciated the humor. “Loved it. Loved it.”

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The loss is still sinking in, though, and those close to him admit they’re struggling. Edgar said, “You spend 10 hours a day together every day, and you develop quite a bond.  I’m lost, I’m lost without him right now.  So yea, day to day, day to day.”