A sister said she was "heartbroken" to learn her brother was stabbed to death and buried in an unmarked grave in Greece more than two years ago.
The body of Lee Robinson, 41, of Wigan, Greater Manchester was repatriated this week after a long legal battle.
His sister Shelley Robinson said the family were "oblivious" to his death for 16 months until a DNA match was found on Interpol's database.
Learning he'd been killed so long ago was "very traumatising", she said.
It was May last year when Ms Robinson was informed that her brother had died a violent death in the Greek capital, Athens in December 2018.
She was told he was attacked as he slept in an unused building used by homeless people and later buried in an unmarked grave.
It took the authorities in Greece 16 months to identify him before notifying police in the UK.
His sister said the family were "heartbroken" when they realised they had been "oblivious" to the fact he had been killed and buried without anything to say who he was.
And with no name, there was no death certificate - one of many obstacles the family faced.
After a long struggle, they discovered a court case had already taken place. A 32-year-old man had admitted to killing Mr Robinson and was in a psychiatric hospital.
With the aid of Victim Support, and solicitors Mike Hagan, based in Southport, and George Moschos in Greece, Mr Robinson's body has been returned to his hometown of Tyldesley.
Pending an inquest at Bolton Coroner's Court, the date of which is yet to be confirmed, the family will hold a funeral service.
The family were "utterly bereft" but would obtain some comfort in having him buried in a place where "friends and family can properly grieve and say goodbye", said Mr Hagan.
Lee Robinson had slept rough "on-and-off" for a number of years after a breakdown, said his sister Shelley.
He was "very funny, eccentric and great to be around" but was an independent character, she added.
He was registered as a missing person when the family discovered he had bought a flight to Corfu in December 2015. They alerted police who confirmed he had boarded the flight.
Ms Robinson said: "We did everything we could to help Lee. We thought he would be OK and get in touch when he was ready.
"He was an absolute star and everyone, especially his family loved him, if only he knew how much."