Col. Trần Trọng Duyệt, the man who was in charge of the North Vietnamese prison where John McCain was held as a POW for six years during the Vietnam War, has offered his condolences upon learning of the “maverick” senator’s passing. In an interview with Việt Nam News on Saturday, the colonel said he’d spent a great deal of time getting to know McCain while he was held in the prison, which is now a museum. “At that time I liked him personally for his toughness and strong stance. Later on, when he became a U.S. Senator, he and Senator John Kerry greatly contributed to promote Việtnam-U.S. relations so I was very fond of him,” Duyệt said. “When I learnt [sic] about his death early this morning, I feel very sad. I would like to send condolences to his family. I think it’s the same feeling for all Vietnamese people as he has greatly contributed to the development of Việtnam-U.S. relations,” he was quoted as saying. McCain famously visited the prison-turned-museum in 2009 and called for closer ties with Vietnam.