WASHINGTON, D.C. (CBSNewYork) – Sen. John McCain has lost his battle with brain cancer.
The longtime Republican leader died Saturday at the age of 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. At his death, he had served the United States of America faithfully for sixty years,” his office said in a statement.
He lived a life dedicated to public service and the protection of the United States.
McCain’s wife, Cindy, wrote on Twitter “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,” she posted.
His daughter, Meghan, shared a statement of her own, tweeting, “I love you forever – my beloved father @SenJohnMcCain.”
President Donald Trump extended his “deepest sympathies and respect.”
Former President Barack Obama also shared his condolences in a statement.
Former President George W. Bush released a statement, calling McCain a “patriot of the highest order” and “public servant of rarest courage.”
Former President Bill Clinton said the senator “lived by his creed every day.”
McCain’s former running mate, Sarah Palin, called him “an American original.”
John Sidney McCain III was born August 29, 1936 on a naval base near the Panama Canal.
His father and grandfather were both four-star admirals.
He attended the naval academy at Annapolis. When the war broke out in Vietnam, he volunteered to fly bombers.
In October 1967, McCain was shot down over Hanoi and captured. He broke his legs and an arm in the crash.
More than five years passed before his release. Most of the time, he was in solitary confinement.
The Vietcong repeatedly offered to set him free because of his father’s rank, but he refused, saying he didn’t think it would be honorable.
McCain’s move into politics and the Republican party began when he was a Navy liaison to the Senate.
From there, he ran for Congress, representing Arizona – first in the house and then in the Senate.
He made his first run for president in 2000, positioning himself as a maverick willing to buck his party.
McCain crisscrossed the country in a bus he dubbed the “Straight Talk Express.” He won early primaries like New Hampshire, but ultimately lost the nomination.
Eight years later, he ran again. This time, he won the nomination and faced Barack Obama.
McCain had an early lead in the polls, but it vanished when the economy fell into a tailspin.
“The American people have spoken and they have spoken clearly,” he said in his concession speech.
McCain went back to work in the Senate, winning re-election two more times.
He also conquered several cases of skin cancer. But when he was diagnosed with brain cancer this past July, it was clear his condition was dire.
When he returned to the Senate for a vote on health care, McCain was greeted with a standing ovation. Then came his trademark straight talk.
“We’re getting nothing done, my friends. We’re getting nothing done,” he said.
The day after McCain helped defeat the bill, he was back at work and living the words he once spoke at the Republican National Convention.
“My country saved me. My country saved me, and I cannot forget it, and I will fight for her as long as I draw breath, so help me god,” he said.