"It's a shock, a great loss for the family. He needed his soul to be taken home," said Showyn Forbes who traveled to Durham from Trinidad to retrieve his brother's body.
Blackman left Trinidad 16 years ago to pursue his dreams. He worked at Duke University as a recruiter for graduate studies and minority programs.
Thursday, his American dream came to a violent end. Sources tell WRAL that Blackman was bound and stabbed repeatedly in his apartment.
A search warrant shows investigators took an earring, condoms, pillowcases and a knife from Blackman's Hilton Avenue apartment.Police have not said if the knife is the murder weapon.
Detectives also seized Blackman's computer. Agents with the State Bureau of Investigation are supposed to examine the hard drive, concentrating on e-mails and Web sites to see who Blackman had recent contact with.
"He was an extremely spiritual person, he was motivated," The Rev. Barry McCauley said of his friend.
As investigators work the case, family and friends honor the legacy Blackman left behind.
"People try to find bad things about a person, but with Curt, there is nothing there. He was giving and always did to others as he would do for himself," Forbes said.
Detectives say they do not have a suspect or a motive.
A memorial service is scheduled Tuesday at 2 p.m. at Duke Chapel. The service is open to the public.