02/21/2011 04:23 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Homeless Woman Dies On East Village Sidewalk

A woman spent her last few hours sleeping on a sidewalk outside St. Brigid's Church on Avenue B.

The Tompkins Square Park regular was found dead Sunday morning by a friend who said many knew her simply as "Grace."

"She was a very beautiful person," said the friend, who identified himself as Tony. "She had a beautiful heart."

From the New York Times:

Tony said that he and Grace had spread sheets of cardboard in a shallow alcovelike area under a construction scaffold that ran across the facade of St. Brigid's Church, on Avenue B. Tony said that about 9 p.m. on Saturday, he wrapped Grace in three wool blankets and then left to panhandle on East Ninth Street.

A few hours later, Tony said, he returned to the church and shared a meal of hot dogs and beans with Grace. Afterward, he said, he left again to continue panhandling.

Tony said there wasn't enough room for him to sleep next to Grace so he went instead to the Bowery Mission where women are not allowed to sleep over.

He returned the next morning to find Grace, who was in her 30s, not breathing.

Residents reacted with a mixture of sadness and anger to the news.

"It's kind of hard for Americans to be living in the streets and they don't have a place for these homeless to move in especially when it's under 20 degrees, it's very sad, because the girl was young," one man told 1010 Wins.

"The cops are always traveling around they must have seen her, nobody picked her up," another man said.