Bobby Khamvongsa moved to California a couple years ago to pursue a career as a freelance makeup artist in Hollywood but friends said he was the real star.
It was at Cheer808 Hawaii's gymnasium in Kalihi, where Khamvongsa, 27, proved he was a performer.
Khamvongsa was a member of the club's first cheerleading team, which celebrated many wins together.
His former teammates said Khamvongsa's personality was magnetic.
"He had over the top showmanship. He definitely had a passion for life and he was an inspiration to all of us," said Timmy Cagadas, Khamvongsa's friend and former teammate.
Khamvongsa graduated from Kaimuki High School where his former coach said he excelled on the varsity squad.
The owner of Cheer808 Hawaii said the young man put cheering on hold to take a leap of faith.
"He was very excited to go to the mainland to pursue what he always wanted to do," said Lynn Barbasa.
However, his dreams ended early Saturday morning when police found Khamvongsa fatally stabbed.
Police arrested Richard Herrera, 29, who also attended Kaimuki High School.
Khamvongsa's family does not know the relationship between the two men.