Lynn Earles, 60, a retired West Vancouver police constable, was found stabbed to death in her home on Wednesday in Playa del Carmen.
Local police believe Earles was murdered as part of a robbery. The owner of Earles' complex, Ted Rhodes, said she was robbed two weeks ago.
Chris Cvetkovic, who plays for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and runs his own animal charity, says he met Earle while volunteering at her animal rescue organization in Playa del Carmen.
He says he was shocked to hear the news of her death.
"She was just a really nice, genuine person who had a huge heart and for only knowing her for a week I can confidently say the world was a better place with her in it," he said.
Earle was a former West Vancouver police officer who retired in 1996.
Mexican police are currently investigating the circumstances surrounding her death.