Sen. John McCain, who survived nearly six years as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam, succeeded Barry Goldwater to represent Arizona in the Senate, lost a White House bid to freshman Sen. Barack Obama and became an outspoken critic of President Donald Trump, has died. He was 81.
McCain died Saturday. His office released this statement:
Senator John Sidney McCain III died at 4:28pm on August 25, 2018. 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.
Later, Cindy McCain took to Twitter to honor her husband.
"My heart is broken. I am so lucky to have lived the adventure of loving this incredible man for 38 years," she tweeted. "He passed the way he lived, on his own terms, surrounded by the people he loved, in the the place he loved best."
Daughter Meghan McCain posted a tribute to her father on social media, as well.
McCain was diagnosed in July 2017 with glioblastoma, a virulent brain cancer, a week after doctors removed a blood clot from above his left eye. He underwent surgery for an intestinal infection in April 2018.
On Aug. 24, five days before his 82nd birthday, his family announced that "with his usual strength of will, he has now chosen to discontinue medical treatment.
"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," the family said. "God bless and thank you all."
During his 3½-decade congressional career, McCain was a conservative who rejected Republican orthodoxy, earning him the label "maverick." He backed campaign finance reform to limit corporate donations to candidates and was a leader in efforts to normalize relations with Vietnam. He voted against a bill to make Martin Luther King's birthday a federal holiday but backed legislation to support his Native American constituents, including the 1988 Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, which opened the way for tribal casino development. And he was a thorn in the side of fellow Republican Trump, who expressed his "deepest sympathies to McCain's family about his passing.
Trump tweet: My deepest sympathies and respect go out to the family of Senator John McCain. Our hearts and prayers are with you!
Ever the fighter, McCain had promised to return to Washington soon after the cancer diagnosis.
His treatment forced him to miss the Senate vote on the GOP tax overhaul in December 2017. But nearly two weeks after surgery in July 2017, he marched into the Senate to a standing ovation and cast the deciding vote that killed the Senate GOP's "skinny" bill to repeal Obamacare — at 1:29 a.m. He joined with Republican Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine and 48 Democrats.
"I thought it was the right thing to do," he said afterward.
"From the beginning, I have believed that Obamacare should be repealed and replaced with a solution that increases competition, lowers costs, and improves care for the American people. The so-called 'skinny repeal' amendment the Senate voted on today would not accomplish those goals," McCain said in a statement. "We must do the hard work our citizens expect of us and deserve."