A dad caught up in a bar row died after flying on holiday to Turkey just hours later.
Police believe Simon Marx may have suffered fatal injuries in the fight, at the Newton Arms in Normoss, and arrested four Blackpool men on suspicion of murder.
The force said the 42-year-old’s death was being treated as ‘unexplained’, with a post mortem examination set to be carried out.
Mr Marx was a ‘great guy’ who was ‘always smiling’ friends said.
Zee Jane, who said he was a ‘true gent who will be missed by so many’, said: “My heart breaks for his young children and mum.”
And Erika Norbury said Mr Marx would have celebrated his 43rd birthday tomorrow.
She added: “It’s absolutely heart rendering to hear he has sadly passed away, and with his whole life ahead of him and in such a cruel way.
“I really feel for his family, for his girlfriend who was looking forward to spending some lovely time together on holiday, and now sadly this won’t be happening.”
Police did not comment on reports Mr Marx was knocked out after being hit with a glass bottle during the fracas, but said officers were called to an ‘altercation’ between two groups of men at 12.25am on Saturday.
An ambulance was called to Staining Road, where the melee happened, at 12.16am, but was cancelled, the service said.
Mr Marx later travelled to port city of Fethiye, known for its rock tombs and blue waters, before his sudden death yesterday.
Specially-trained officers were supporting his family, DCI Andy Cribbin from Blackpool Police said, while detectives were in contact with Turkish authorities.
DCI Cribbin also appealed for witnesses to come forward, and said: “My thoughts are with the family and friends of this man during this extremely difficult time.”
The arrested men, aged 29, 29, 54, and 58, were still in custody this morning.
The sister of Michael Rhodes, the 46-year-old dad killed in a one-punch attack in Exchange Street, Blackpool, in May, posted a message to Mr Marx’s family on Facebook.
Jane Parkinson, who last week said the three-year sentence handed to her brother’s killer was a ‘kick in the stomach’, wrote: “So sorry to you all hope you get justice xxx”
Mr Marx’s family said in a statement through Lancashire Police this afternoon: “We are all completely devastated by Simon’s sudden death.
“He was a much loved father, son, uncle and brother and he will be sorely missed by us all.
“We would ask that we are given some privacy at this time to try and start to come to terms with what has happened to our family.”
Kenny Stephenson from Blackpool Skip Hire, where Mr Marx worked as a driver, added: “The workplace today is of a very sombre mood and in a state of shock on hearing this tragic news.
“Simon was one of our own and as has been said always had the biggest smile and the ability to brighten anyone’s day with his humour and happiness.He will be sadly missed by all his colleagues and friends.”