Jailer who ran 'Hanoi Hilton' says he liked, respected McCain

A former Vietnamese soldier who ran the prison where Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainJuan Williams: Time for boldness from Biden Democrats lead in three battleground Senate races: poll Republican Scott Taylor wins Virginia primary, to face Elaine Luria in rematch MORE (R-Ariz.) was held captive said Sunday that he respected and liked the late senator.

The Associated Press reported that former Col. Tran Trong Duyet, who ran the "Hanoi Hilton" during the Vietnam War, told the official Vietnam News Agency that he met with McCain on multiple occasions during his imprisonment.

“At that time I liked him personally for his toughness and strong stance,” Duyet said.

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“When I learnt about his death early this morning, I feel very sad. I would like to send condolences to his family," he added. "I think it’s the same feeling for all Vietnamese people as he has greatly contributed to the development of Vietnam-U.S. relations."

McCain died on Saturday at age 81 just over a year after being diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer.

While serving in the Navy, McCain was captured after his plane crashed during a mission in Vietnam. He suffered multiple broken bones, was tortured and beaten, and refused to be released ahead of other U.S. soldiers who were taken prisoner before him. McCain was held prisoner for five years.

During his time in Congress, he pushed for normalizing relations between the U.S. and Vietnam.

Vietnamese citizens and U.S. citizens visiting Vietnam have reportedly turned a monument near the site where McCain was captured during the war into a makeshift memorial. Visitors have left notes, flowers, flags and other items celebrating McCain's life.

McCain is scheduled to lie in the Arizona State Capitol on Wednesday and the U.S. Capitol on Friday. He will be buried at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., on Sunday.