MELROSE, Bronx (WABC) --The family of the man who died from a rare bacterial disease spread by rats is speaking out about their loss.
He moved to America for a better life, tending to live poultry at a halal market on the Grand Concourse.
But suddenly, late last year, Mohamed Kibbeh's family says he became violently and inexplicably sick.
"He start coughing and the coughing after that, blood come out his mouth," his family member said. "The guy who lived with him, he said let's go to hospital. He say, 'no, I'm okay. It's only this coughing.' He called the ambulance, the ambulance pick up."
He was young. He was strong. But he didn't make it.
And in an Eyewitness News exclusive, family members said they still didn't really understand what happened to Mohamed.
"We don't know. The doctors never say that. He pass away, what are we going to do? Nothing we can say, nothing we can do," Mohamed's family member said.
Sources say Kibbeh was one of three victims of the rare, rat borne illness called leptospirosis, which he and another man contracted while working at the poultry market.
The other victim lives in an apartment building just up the block, where Tuesday night, city officials vacated two dozen other people living in illegal apartments in the rat infested basement
It's where Wednesday night; residents let city leaders have an earful. They are frustrated, they say, by years of neglect by one New York's most notorious landlords.
Ved Parkash's 11 buildings have racked up violations by the thousands.
"Parkash knows the system," said Letitia James, NYC Public Advocate. "And so when he saw the violations when HPD was about to step in, what he did is he reduced the violations to a point where HPD obviously backed up."
"You've got violation, after violation, after violation," Eyewitness News Reporter Josh Einiger said.
"I'm correcting it, I'm correcting it," Parkash said.
"Are you a slumlord?" Einiger asked.
"You can call me a good landlord, you can call me a slum landlord, it's up to you what you want to call me," Parkash said.