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John McCain, a Vietnam war hero who served as a U.S. Senator for over 20 years, died Saturday at his home in Arizona, his office has confirmed.
He was 81 years old.
This is what the statement from his office read:
“With the Senator when he passed were his wife Cindy and their family. At his death, he had served the United States of America faithfully for sixty years.”
The politician proudly referred to himself often as a “maverick” over his long and impressive career, as McCain was known over the years as a Republican who was unafraid to work with Democrats and/or to speak his mind.
A graduate of the United States Naval Academy in 1958, McCain was shot down while on a bombing mission over Hanoi in 1967.
He famously refused to be let go by his captors until all other American soldiers also apprehended were released and ended up serving as a prisoner of war for five years.
McCain was tortured for the duration of his captivity.
He retired from the Navy as a captain in 1981 and moved to Arizona, where he entered politics.
(UPDATE: Cindy McCain has said the following in a Tweet:
My heart is broken. I am so lucky to have lived the adventure of loving this incredible man for 38 years.
He passed the way he lived, on his own terms, surrounded by the people he loved, in the the place he loved best.)
In 1982, McCain was elected to the United States House of Representatives, where he served two terms.
He then entered the U.S. Senate in 1987 and easily won reelection five times, most recently in 2016.
McCain’s passing comes over a year since he announced to the world from a rare type of brain cancer known as glioblastoma.
As soon as he revealed this awful news in July of 2017, it was sadly assumed that he would not have very much longer to live.
But McCain once again defied the odds.
Not only did he survive for over a year, he played a significant political role during this period, even casting a deciding vote on healthcare reform in 2017.
He passed away days after wife Cindy announced that her husband had chosen to “discontinue medical care.”
“I love my husband with all of my heart. God bless everyone who has cared for my husband along this journey,” she wrote as a caption to the following message on August 24:
Our family is immensely grateful for the support and kindness of all his caregivers over the last year, and for the continuing outpouring of concern and affection from John’s many friends and associates, and the many thousands of people who are keeping him in their prayers, reads the message, concluding:
God bless and thank you all.
McCain ran for President in 2000, losing in the Republican primary to George W. Bush.
He also ran for President in 2008, earning the Republican nomination and losing in the general electionto Barack Obama.
A maverick up until the very end of his run in the Senate, McCain voted against the Republican-led effort to repeal Obamacare last year…
… and has spoken out strongly against President Donald Trump’s relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
After being diagnosed in 2017, McCain returned to the Senate floor and gave a rousing speech about politics and public service.
He implored his fellow politicians to vote with their conscience and to remember why they were voted into office by the citizens of their state and country.
Having lamented the polarization and decline of civility in our political system for years, he urged his colleagues to rise above party affiliation.
“Our responsibilities are important, vitally important, to the continued success of our republic,” he said at the time.
“And our arcane rules and customs are deliberately intended to require broad cooperation to function well at all.
“The most revered members of this institution accepted the necessity of compromise in order to make incremental progress on solving America’s problems and defend her from her adversaries.”
Expect plenty of tributes to pour forth from those who knew McCain and those whose lives were touched by McCain in the hours, days and weeks to come.
May this great American rest in peace.
UPDATE: Senator Mitch McConnell has released a statement in light of this news.
It reads as follows:
And this is what Barack Obama and Michele Obama have said:
Few of us have been tested the way John once was, or required to show the kind of courage that he did.
But all of us can aspire to the courage to put the greater good above our own.
There’s also this from Melania Trump:
Our thoughts, prayers and deepest sympathy to the McCain Family. Thank you Senator McCain for your service to the nation.
And this from Meghan McCain, on her dad:
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