Sgt. Mark Gallagher, described as a “great person” and a “wonderful individual,” has died from this week’s devastating earthquake in Haiti.

“It’s like a loss of a family member. We will feel this pain,” a sombre RCMP Deputy Commissioner of Atlantic Canada Steve Graham told media Thursday night at its headquarters in Halifax.

“This is devastating news.”

Gallagher, well known in both police and media circles, left Halifax in July for a peace operation in Haiti where he trained Haitian police as part of a UN mission. Prior to that, the 50-year-old spent two years as the public relations officer for the RCMP in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.

Gallagher’s wife, Lisa, said she spoke with him just 30 minutes before the quake. Police say his body was recovered Thursday afternoon in the Haiti capital of Port-au-Prince. The remains of the Bathurst, N.B., native were recovered under the collapsed remains of the building in which he was living.

“We will all miss Mark and we will make sure support continues for his family,” Graham said.

Gallagher and his wife had two adult children — Heather and Shane. Police say arrangements are now being made to bring the 20-year police veteran’s body to Canada where a funeral will be held.