Kansas politicians responded to the death of U.S. Sen. John McCain on Saturday by recalling the man’s devotion to the nation and for creating a legacy of courage in times of war and peace.

U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran, a Republican colleague, said McCain was an American hero with a sense of duty that led to a life of public service.

“First as a naval aviator serving in Vietnam,” Moran said, “his honor led him to refuse early release ahead of his fellow American POWs. Then as a member of Congress and presidential candidate, John remained steadfast in his principles, always seeking to do what he thought was in our nation’s best interests.”

U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., said McCain was his friend, as well as a patriot, hero and leader.

“He never shied away from a battle, from what was right and what was best for our country,” Roberts said.

Former U.S. Sen. Bob Dole, who joined McCain as winner of the Republican Party’s nomination for president and in serving in combat overseas, said McCain spent his life “serving his country with distinction, selflessness and honor.”

Gov. Jeff Colyer conveyed his condolences to McCain’s family following news of his death. The Arizona senator fought brain cancer for more than a year.

“Senator McCain will long be remembered for his years of dedicated service to our nation,” Colyer said. “We are grateful for his devotion to this country and send our deepest condolences to his family as they grieve his passing.”

Independent gubernatorial candidate Greg Orman said the nation mourned the “loss of a great American patriot and hero.”