John McCain Dead At 81

Senator John McCain has died at the age of 81, according to the New York Times. The Republican congressman and two-time presidential candidate passed at 4:28 p.m. at his Arizona home on Saturday. 

According to a statement from his office, Mr. McCain died at 4:28 p.m. local time. He had suffered from a malignant brain tumor, called a glioblastoma, for which he had been treated periodically with radiation and chemotherapy since its discovery in 2017. -NYT

McCain's family announced on Friday that the Senator had chosen to discontinue medical treatment for an aggressive form of brain cancer, a year after the Vietnam War hero announced his prognosis. 

"John has surpassed expectations for his survival," the family said, adding that the disease's progression and McCain's age, 81, had led him to stop treatment for the "aggressive glioblastoma." "With his usual strength of will, he has now chosen to discontinue medical treatment," the family said.

Full statement below:

"Last summer, Senator John McCain shared with Americans the news our family already knew: he had been diagnosed with an aggressive glioblastoma, and the prognosis was serious. In the year since, John has surpassed expectations for his survival. But the progress of disease and the inexorable advance of age render their verdict. 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. God bless and thank you all."

His daughter, Meghan McCain tweeted:

My family is deeply appreciative of all the love and generosity you have shown us during this past year. Thank you for all your continued support and prayers. We could not have made it this far without you - you've given us strength to carry on.

McCain, a harsh critic of President Trump who hand-delivered the controversial "Steele dossier" to FBI Director James Comey, returned to the Senate in July 2017 after emergency brain surgery to become the deciding vote that killed the GOP's repeal of the Affordable Care Act. 

McCain specifically requested that President Trump not attend his funeral, instead insisting that Vice President Mike Pence attend the service in Washington's National Cathedral. 

His intimates have informed the White House that their current plan for his funeral is for Vice President Mike Pence to attend the service to be held in Washington’s National Cathedral but not President Trump, with whom Mr. McCain has had a rocky relationship. -NYT

Meanwhile, McCain associates have been quietly spreading the word that they want a "McCain person" to eventually fill his Senate seat - "a roster that includes his wife, Cindy."

The matter of succession for the McCain seat — a topic of such intense discussion that Republicans officials here joke that Washington lawyers know Arizona election law better than any attorney in the state — is officially verboten among party officials and the senator’s friends. They are determined to reward him with the same good ending that his friend Senator Edward M. Kennedy enjoyed before he succumbed to brain cancer in 2009.

In May, Frank Bruni detailed in the NYT the Arizona Senator's battles with President Trump - who McCain has criticized for his "half-baked, spurious nationalism.

The son and grandson of four-star admirals, McCain was shot down over Hanoi during Vietnam, suffering broken limbs and enduring torture for approximately two years. 

McCain lost the 2000 GOP nomination to George W. Bush and the 2008 US election to Barack Obama - admitting that he regretted picking Alaska Governor Sarah Palin over Joe Lieberman. 

A lifelong war hawk, McCain strongly advocated for military action in several countries, including; Iraq, Syria, Kosovo, North Korea, Afghanistan and Iran. McCain supported the Al-Qaeda-aligned Free Syrian Army, calling for arming them with heavy weapons in order to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. 

The New York Times has published a comprehensive eulogy / biography here.

Several statements have been issued in response to McCain's death: 

Via Axios

Former Vice President Joe Biden said, “McCain will cast a long shadow. His impact on America hasn’t ended. Not even close. It will go on for many years to come.”

Senator Lindsey Graham, one of McCain's closest friends in the Senate, tweeted: “America and Freedom have lost one of her greatest champions ….And I’ve lost one of my dearest friends and mentor.”

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer announced he wants to rename one of the Senate office buildings after McCain:

“Nothing will overcome the loss of Senator McCain, but so that generations remember him I will be introducing a resolution to rename the Russell building after him.”

 

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