Family members say Ernest Brace, a civilian who was captured during the Vietnam War while flying supplies for the CIA and tapped code through a wall to fellow prisoner John McCain, has died. He was 83.

His family said he died of a pulmonary embolism on Friday in Klamath Falls, Oregon, where he retired in 1989.

A Marine Corps pilot who won a Distinguished Flying Cross in the Korean War, Brace was later court martialed for leaving the scene of a training flight crash. He went on to fly helicopters for a company under contract to the Central Intelligence Agency.

After his capture in 1965, he was held 3 1/2 years in a bamboo cage by North Vietnamese soldiers before being transferred to the infamous Hanoi Hilton, where he was put in a cell was next McCain, now a U.S. senator from Arizona.