His friends, aged between 17 and 19, claimed that they decided to spend the night at the surau after cleaning one of the stalls at the food court on Sunday night.
"After cleaning the stall, we had a brief game of football at the beach before calling it a night at about 4am," recalled the friend who declined to be identified.
It was said that his friends tried to wake him up at about 10.30am but failed, prompting them to alert the authorities when they saw his face turning black.
They claimed that the man, fondly known as 'Adik' was from Lahad Datu and had come to the city where he stayed with relatives in Telipok.
It was learnt that he worked as a cook at one of the stalls at the Tanjung Aru food court.
He was pronounced dead by paramedics who arrived at the scene later.
City Police Chief ACP Jauteh Dikun said the remains have been sent for post mortem and that the case is currently classified as a sudden death report.