The former Barca coach passed away on Friday.
"We had the disease one year apart. He was a great fighter. He will always have a place in our hearts and minds. He was a real gentleman," said AS Monaco defender Abidal, who beat liver cancer while at the Camp Nou.
The 34-year-old France international added that Vilanova, who was just 45 when he died, "went very quickly, which is always tough to take".