US senator John McCain, a celebrated war hero known for reaching across the aisle in an increasingly divided America, died Saturday after losing a battle to brain cancer, his office said. He was 81.
“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,” his office said in a statement.
“At his death, he had served the United States of America faithfully for 60 years.”
In July 2017, McCain was diagnosed with glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer.
One year of treatment failed to prevent his condition from worsening and on August 24 his family announced that he had chosen to discontinue medical care.
“Sen McCain, thank you for your service,” read a sign near the driveway of his home in a rural part of Sedona, Arizona, television footage showed, as a police escort accompanied the hearse that was to carry his body and local residents came bearing flowers for the late political titan.
Former President Barack Obama also issued a statement paying tribute to the 2008 Republican nominee.
He wrote: “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.
McCain had been in the public eye since the 1960s, when as a naval aviator he was shot down during the Vietnam War and tortured by his North Vietnamese communist captors during 5-1/2 years as a prisoner.
He was edged out by George W. Bush for the Republican presidential nomination in 2000, but became his party’s White House candidate eight years later. After gambling on political neophyte Sarah Palin as his vice presidential running mate, McCain lost in 2008 to Democrat Barack Obama, who became the first black US president.
McCain, the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, was a frequent critic as well as a target of his fellow Republican, Trump, who was elected president in November 2016.