He liked to joke around with his neighbors. And he always lent them a helping hand. The neighbors say that Thomas Eric Duncan's generous spirit is what cost him his life.

Duncan, 42, was the first person diagnosed with Ebola in the United States and the first to die of the disease on American soil. He likely contracted the disease in Liberia when he carried a pregnant woman, sick with Ebola, into her house after no clinic would admit her. That was just before Sept. 19, when Duncan flew from Monrovia to Dallas with stopovers in Brussels and Washington, D.C. He was traveling to Texas to visit his fiancée and son. His relatives insist he didn't know he'd been exposed to Ebola when he boarded that fateful flight to the United States.

In East Monrovia, where Duncan rented a room, he was known as "Eric." And he was well-liked by his neighbors.