A small group of Calgarians held a vigil outside City Hall on Tuesday to honour John Ridsdel, the 58-year-old who was murdered this week by an Islamist group in Philippines.

Stuart Yaholnitsky has known Ridsdel since they were kids growing up in Saskatchewan.

John Ridsdel

Canadian John Ridsdel was killed by Abu Sayyaf gunmen in the Philippines Monday. (@JBR10000/Twitter)

"I mean the last picture I saw I could see John's ribs through his open shirt and I knew things were bad," he said. 

"It affected me a lot. I knew what was coming. I didn't want to believe that would happen. I suspected it would and unfortunately it did."

Ridsdel was kidnapped last September along with three other people, including Canadian Robert Hall.

He was described as semi-retired and was the former chief operating officer of mining company TVI Resource Development Philippines Inc., a subsidiary of Canada's TVI Pacific, where he was a consultant, a company officer said. 

Stuart Yaholnitsky

Stuart Yaholnitsky knew John Ridsdel from the time they were kids growing up in Saskatchewan. (Mike Symington/CBC)

"He was very gregarious. He was always very loyal. He was a family man. I just think he was a great prairie boy," said Yaholnitsky.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canada will be working with authorities in Philippines to bring Ridsdel's killers to justice and try to ensure the other captives are returned safely.