President Donald Trump mourned the loss of Herman Cain, who died from coronavirus complications, with a heartfelt message on Twitter, hailing him as an "American Patriot" and a "great friend."
Trump tweeted Thursday afternoon:
"My friend Herman Cain, a Powerful Voice of Freedom and all that is good, passed away this morning. Herman had an incredible career and was adored by everyone that ever met him, especially me. He was a very special man, an American Patriot, and great friend. I just got off the phone with his amazing wife Gloria, daughter, Melanie, and son Vincent to express my deepest condolences to the entire family. @FLOTUS Melania and I loved Herman Cain, a great man. Herman, Rest In Peace!"
Cain, 74, is a former Republican presidential candidate and former CEO of a major pizza chain who went on to become an ardent supporter of Trump.
A post on Cain's Twitter account Thursday announced the death. Cain had been ill with the virus for several weeks. It is not clear when or where he was infected, but he was hospitalized less than two weeks after attending Trump's campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in June. Cain had been co-chair of Black Voices for Trump.
"We knew when he was first hospitalized with COVID-19 that this was going to be a rough fight," read an article posted on the Twitter account.
White House spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany tweeted Thursday that Cain "embodied the American Dream and represented the very best of the American spirit."
"We will never forget his legacy of grace, patriotism, and faith," McEnany added.
In a separate tweet, Vice President Mike Pence called Cain "an indispensable voice for the Conservative movement" who will be "deeply missed."
Cain, who had hoped to become the first Black politician to win the GOP nomination, was initially considered a long-shot candidate. His bid was propelled forward in September 2011 when he won a straw poll vote in Florida, instantly becoming an alternative candidate for Republican voters concerned former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney was not conservative enough.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., tweeted Cain was "a fierce advocate for conservative principles across the board," while Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., referring to Cain as one of his closest friends, remarked "Herman . . . lived the American dream and aspired to share his success with others."
Cain is survived by his wife, Gloria Etchison, their children and grandchildren.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
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