RCMP officers in eastern and central Newfoundland are paying a unique homage Thursday to an officer who survived being shot on duty but could not conquer cancer.

Sgt. Reg Gulliford, 46, died Sunday.

To honour him, RCMP colleagues were standing outside detachments along the Trans-Canada Highway on Thursday as a funeral procession left a St. John's funeral home at 7 a.m. and headed to his hometown of Buchans, more than 500 kilometres away.

Gulliford was shot on duty while responding to a situation in 1986 at a Powerview, Man., gas station. His partner was killed.

The officer's survival attracted national headlines. Gulliford returned home to Newfoundland a hero following the incident and underwent more than two dozen surgeries during his recovery.

Gulliford had been working at RCMP regional headquarters in St. John's until his death.

RCMP assistant commissioner Gerry Lynch said Gulliford's colleagues deeply admired him.

"Reg was an inspiration and positive role model to all through his courageous and determined approach to his challenges. His positive outlook was infectious," Lynch said in a statement.

A funeral for Gulliford, who recovered from surgeries to compete as a rower in the Royal St. John's Regatta, will be held at 3 p.m. Thursday in Buchans.