03/09/2015 04:57 EDT | Updated 05/09/2015 05:59 EDT

Sgt. Andrew Doiron mourned by Moncton friends and family

Moncton, N.B., friends and family of the Canadian soldier killed in Iraq last week are remembering a friendly, hard-working man.

Kurdish forces in Iraq killed Sgt. Andrew Doiron in what Canadian and Kurdish officials describe as an accident.

Bernard Melanson taught Doiron at Mathieu Martin High School. He ran into him at the gym just a few weeks ago — on the day the soldier left for Iraq.

"We looked each other in the eye, he gave me a big handshake and he said, 'I'll see you in a few months,' and that was the last time I ever saw him and talked to him," Melanson said.

Doiron was from Moncton and graduated from Ecole Mathieu Martin in 2001.

"He always gave a hundred per cent in what he did. I remember him as a student; he was very much involved with the cadets," Melanson said.

'A tremendous loss'

George LeBlanc, Moncton’s mayor, knew Doiron and described him as brave.

"I have spoken with Andrew's mother and obviously it's a tremendous loss for them. Very, very sad time," he said.

Many civic and military flags are flying at half-mast in honour of the 31-year-old.

Doiron was an adviser with the Canadian Special Operations Regiment. His death is the first in Canada's latest military conflict against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS.

His body will be repatriated to Canada on Tuesday and his funeral is expected to be held later this week.