I always liked Ryan-- he's been a fixture of my neighbourhood for ages and he was always the most charming and friendly of the panhandlers on the stretch between Welch's and des Pins. Working at Welch's this summer meant I ended up being his caretaker on a few occasions when he was too drunk to function in any human way, which was just a pain in the ass, but at the time I didn't know he was sick. He frequently came in to sit and read (or sleep) on our couch, and had for years, though since the success of the documentary about him he'd reversed his trend towards comparative sobriety and was getting even drunker even more consistently. More than half the time I saw him he was clearly hammered, and many of those times too drunk to talk or walk without assistance from someone (me, unless friends came in to get him). Only toward the end of the summer did he tell any of us that he was sick, and even then we weren't sure whether to believe him or not. It makes perhaps more sense now why he was drinking like he had been.
Complaints aside, he was a nice guy, a gentle and funny guy, and a lot of fun to talk to when he was capable of talking. There are some people whose absence marks a neighbourhood, and he's certainly one of them.