“I am stunned at the loss of John Warner,” Tim Kaine (D-Va.) said in a statement Wednesday. “Virginia has lost an unmatched leader, and my family has lost a dear friend.”
Prior to serving in the Senate, Warner was a veteran of both World War II and the Korean War and was secretary of the Navy under former President Richard Nixon.
“How fortunate, how blessed I have been,” Warner said in a five-page, hand-written note addressed to “my fellow Virginians” after he announced his retirement.
Though he was a Republican, Warner made waves when he broke ranks to endorse his Democratic successor in 2014 and sided with Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump during the 2016 presidential election. Warner also endorsed President Joe Biden last year just before Virginia’s Super Tuesday primary.
“There comes a time when I have to stand up and assert my own views,” Warner said in his Clinton endorsement, adding that he was dismayed by Trump’s criticisms of the military.
Warner was also the sixth of actress Elizabeth Taylor’s eight husbands. They divorced in 1982.