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Supporters line Highway of Heroes to pay respects to Canadian killed fighting ISIS

WATCH ABOVE: Canadian killed fighting ISIS to be repatriated, supporters pay respects on Highway of Heroes

TORONTO — A Canadian killed fighting the Islamic State is being repatriated Friday, with veterans, firefighters, police and citizens lining up along the Highway of Heroes as the procession makes its way from Toronto to the southwestern Ontario community of Blenheim.

John Gallagher, 32, was killed in Syria on Nov. 4 while volunteering with a U.S.-backed Kurdish militia, known as the YPG, when he died.

Initial reports said the Windsor, Ont. native was killed by a suicide bomber, however, the National Post is reporting he was shot at close range.

READ MORE: Canadian killed fighting ISIS to be repatriated Friday, group says

The Windsor, Ont. native was volunteering with a U.S.-backed Kurdish militia, known as the YPG, when he died.

Carder told Global News from her home in Wheatley, Ont. on Nov. 7 that her son “really, really tried to do the right thing.”

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Police await the procession for John Gallagher on a bridge overlooking the Highway of Heroes on Nov. 20, 2015.
Police await the procession for John Gallagher on a bridge overlooking the Highway of Heroes on Nov. 20, 2015. Craig Wadman/Global News

Unlike a formal military procession for a Canadian Armed Forces member, the hearse carrying Gallagher’s body was flanked by four police cruisers and about 15 civilian cars carrying signs, flags and honking in support of the fallen Canadian.

Police and firefighters lined bridges along the highway and saluted the former Canadian Forces soldier as his procession made its way along the highway.

READ MORE: Mother of Canadian killed in Syria says he ‘really tried to do the right thing’

The Canadian Heroes Foundation encouraged people to line bridges along the highway to pay their respects, and said a public ceremony will be held in Toronto at a later date.

Carder said she drove with Gallagher to Chicago at the end of April in order for him to make the trip to Syria, after failed attempts through other organizations.

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She said she “wasn’t initially very happy” about Gallagher going to Syria, due to the inherent danger, but said that after he expressed how determined he was to go she “thought it was more important to support him than be worried about him.”

With files from The Canadian Press