A 69-year-old man has been left so badly beaten in a street attack that paramedics thought he had been hit by a car.
West Midlands Police have launched an investigation after the victim was found with severe head injuries in West Bromwich, around dawn.
The man's next of kin have been informed and the widower, who is from Tipton in the West Midlands, remains critically ill in hospital.
The victim had been enjoying a day out but was found unconscious near to Greets Green social club in Whitehall Road at about 5.15am today.
Detective Sergeant Andy Robinson, of West Midlands Police, said: "The man's injuries were so severe that the ambulance service initially believed that he had been hit by a car.
"Our inquiries quickly found that he had in fact been assaulted.
"CCTV footage shows the pair walk out of Grout Street onto Whitehall Road, there is a brief conversation and then the assault takes place.
"The motive remains unclear but we're working hard to identify the man who ran off with his striped top soaked with blood.
"There is a suggestion that he then drove away in a light-coloured van."
Anyone with information has been urged to call police on 101 or contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.