Parmpreet Punia has been remembered by his friends and loved ones for his kind heart and generosity.

The 23 year-old, who recently moved from Tarneit to St Albans, died in the early hours of April 28 when the van he was driving collided with a truck while travelling from Melbourne to Adelaide delivering blood with the Australian Red Cross service.

Gurpreet Sidhu, a roommate and close friend of Mr Punia, said he was a “child at heart”, always ready to help others and a hard worker.

“We got to know about his death after some common friends alerted us through Facebook,” Mr Sidhu said.

“It took us a while to accept the news … He was an innocent and gentle human being.

“His parents are in no condition to speak over the phone. Param was their only hope.”

Mr Sidhu started a crowdfunding campaign on Facebook which has raised more than $45,000 to cover the cost of Mr Punia’s funeral and to support his family in India.

“While we in Australia say goodbye to a friend and coworker, Parmpreet, the only son of his mother and father, are now without his support and face a tough struggle ahead,” he said.

Mr Punia’s family in Australia decided he would be buried in Australia and not repatriated to India.

“The decision would be made on the basis of the condition of the body, which we have been told is in really bad shape,” Mr Sidhu said.

Australian Red Cross Blood Service acting chief executive Greg Wilkie said police were investigating.

“Our deepest sympathies and thoughts are with the family, friends, and co-workers of the driver,” he said.

Mr Punia is survived by his parents and a younger sister, who lives with her husband in Canada.