Sens. Tom Carper and Chris Coons, D-Delaware, released statements on the passing of Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona.

“Today, our nation lost a true hero. While we have had a little over a year to prepare for this moment, time has not made preparing for this great loss any easier. I was privileged to serve with John McCain for several years, first in the House of Representatives and then for the past 17 years in the Senate. As freshman congressmen, he and I bonded over having both served in the Navy at the same time in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War. Later, we worked on recovering the missing remains of our fallen soldiers; and our efforts, along with the efforts of others, led to normalized relations between the U.S. and Vietnam,” said Carper.

“We were both taught in the military to lead by example, and John did that every single day. He walked out of step when it was the right thing to do, he put his country above party, and we could use more leaders like him in public service,” said Carper.

“There will never be another man like John, he was truly an American original. But I hope in our own way we can all strive to be more like him. Tonight, Martha and I will pray for Cindy and the McCain family,” said Carper.

“I have rarely met someone who cared so deeply, sacrificed so much, and represented the best of the United States of America like John McCain. From his service in the U.S. Navy to his nearly four decades in Congress, John literally lived a life of service to this country, and our nation is better for it,” said Coons.

“Traveling with John to a dozen countries, including to a refugee camp in Jordan, a military base in Afghanistan and to the Hỏa Lò Prison in Hanoi, Vietnam, where he was held captive and tortured as a POW for more than five years, has taught me about America’s roles and responsibilities in the world. I’ve seen John represent our country in ways few are able to — delivering tough, principled messages to foreign leaders who didn’t always want to hear them, commanding immediate respect at international gatherings, and even showing the grace to extend a hand of friendship in a country where he endured the unthinkable. In every one of those instances, John not only spoke for the U.S., he embodied the principles and traditions that make this country exceptional,” said Coons.

“John’s impact was no less significant in the Senate, where he has held a unique reputation among both Democrats and Republicans as someone who understood what this body can and should be. When the most complicated, difficult issues were up for debate, from health care to immigration, from national security to campaign finance, we have all benefited from John’s principled, independent leadership and the trust and respect he’s earned over decades. I was particularly grateful for the opportunity earlier this year to partner with him on a compromise immigration reform bill that offered a way forward when the Senate was stuck. In the years ahead, we will miss his ability to bring Senators together and remind us of what we can do when we check partisanship at the door and work together,” said Coons.

“Most of all, I will miss John as a friend and colleague. I will miss his sage advice, unyielding determination and famous way with words. Annie and I will be praying for Cindy and all of John’s family in the coming days, and we will cherish our memories of John always,” said Coons.