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Donald Reed Herring and Elizabeth Warren. YouTube; Shutterstock

Senator Elizabeth Warren has lost her oldest brother, Donald Reed Herring, to the novel coronavirus. He was 86 years old.

The 70-year-old politician confirmed the news via Twitter on Thursday, April 23, two days after her brother’s death. In a statement provided to the Boston Globe, the former presidential candidate paid tribute to the healthcare workers who did their best to help the U.S. Air Force veteran before he succumbed to the illness.

“I’m grateful to the nurses and other front-line staff who took care of my brother, but it is hard to know that there was no family to hold his hand or to say ‘I love you’ one more time. And now there’s no funeral for those of us who loved him to hold each other close,” Warren said. “I will miss my brother.”

Senator Elizabeth Warren Brother Don Reed Herring Died From Coronavirus
Donald Reed Herring and Elizabeth Warren. Courtesy Elizabeth Warren/Twitter

Born in 1933, Herring attended the University of Oklahoma before he decided to enlist in the Air Force. The veteran flew in nearly 300 combat missions in Vietnam, leading him to rise through the ranks in the military and earn a number of prestigious decorations before retiring as a lieutenant colonel.

“He was charming and funny, a natural leader,” Warren said of her brother. “What made him extra special was his smile. He had a quick, crooked smile that seemed to generate its own light and to light up everyone around him.”

The Boston Globe reports that Herring was diagnosed with COVID-19 earlier in April, two months after he was hospitalized with a severe case of pneumonia. The cancer survivor was moved to an intensive care unit at an Oklahoma hospital on April 15 and with his wife, Judith Anne Hart, at the time of his death. He is survived by Judith, his two sons, John and Jeffrey, Senator Warren and his two brothers, John and David Herring.

The CDC reports that there have been more than 850,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the United States to date, with more than 2.5 million cases confirmed across the world. Though she is no longer in the running to be the Democratic candidate, Senator Warren has been a fierce advocate for proper testing and has been critical of the government’s response to the pandemic.

Given the constantly evolving nature of COVID-19, Us Weekly wants our readers to have access to the most accurate resources. For the most up-to-date coronavirus information, guidance, and support, consult the CDC, WHO, and information from local public health officials. If you’re experiencing coronavirus symptoms, call your primary care provider for medical advice.

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