Elizabeth Warren's Older Brother Dies Of Coronavirus

by Cassandra Stone
Sen. Elizabeth Warren
Drew Angerer/Getty

Donald Reed Herring was Elizabeth Warren’s oldest brother

The oldest brother of former presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren has died due to complications from the novel coronavirus. Donald Reed Herring died on Tuesday night in Oklahoma, about three weeks after testing positive.

Senator Warren confirmed the news in a statement provided to the Boston Globe:

“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. I will miss my brother.”

Herring, 86 years old, was a 20-year veteran of the U.S. Air Force. He is survived by his sister and their two other brothers, John and David. Senator Warren spoke of her brothers fondly throughout her campaign for president, often sharing her pride for their military service. They even appeared in campaign footage for their sister, despite the fact that two of her brothers are Republicans.

Senator Warren has been outspoken against Trump’s inept response to the pandemic from the get-go, but hadn’t revealed that her brother was suffering from the virus itself during the past few weeks.

The Globe reports that Herring was tested for the virus in early April after several other people in his care facility contracted COVID-19. He received a positive result the next day, but did not show symptoms of the virus for another 11 days. Herring was moved to intensive care at Norman Regional Hospital on April 15 and died six days later.

Senator Warren, like many people who have loved ones battling the virus in hospitals around the country, couldn’t visit her brother after he became ill. The Globe says she spoke with him daily before he was transferred to the hospital, but that became more difficult to do as he grew sicker.

The senator is 16 years younger than her big brother, and wrote in her autobiography, A Fighting Chance, that she was just a toddler when he joined the military. “My first memory of Don Reed was when he left for the service and then of his wedding,” she wrote in her autobiography. “He was adventurous and dashing, and his very existence was like a distant light.”