Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona), a decorated war hero and longtime U.S. senator who was the Republican nominee for president in 2008, has died at 81, CNN reports.
McCain had battled skin cancer in the past, and had been suffering from brain cancer. Just a day ago, his family had announced he was halting all treatment of his cancer.
McCain spent over five years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, was a Navy Senate liaison, served in the House of Representatives, and replaced conservative icon Barry Goldwater in the Senate, a seat he held for over 30 years.
He was a dyed-in-the-wool Republican who never shied away from scrapping with his colleagues across the aisle, yet did not always vote in lockstep with his party, branding him as a "maverick." It was a word he embraced when he ran for president in 2008, a run that gave Sarah Palin a national profile when he chose her to be his running mate. He lost to Barack Obama, who, along with George W. Bush, will reportedly eulogize McCain at his funeral, which has been planned for the past year.
Palin said in a statement today she would "remember the good times" when it came to Sen. McCain, a reference to his 2018 memoir, in which he expressed regret over picking Palin instead of Joe Lieberman.
Today we lost an American original. Sen. John McCain was a maverick and a fighter, never afraid to stand for his beliefs. John never took the easy path in life - and through sacrifice and suffering he inspired others to serve something greater than self.
During that campaign, McCain famously corrected one of his own supporters who was smearing his rival, a moment many remember as an example of political bravery:
With the passing of John McCain, we have lost a bastion of integrity and statesmanship. In a time of hatefulness and deceit, he renewed our sense of honor and decency. America has lost a good man. pic.twitter.com/4WYrmUOU4x
McCain has critized President Trump on many occasions, including tweets this year that infuriated Trump, who has belittled McCain's military service and attacked him sharply over some of his Senate votes. Trump will not be invited to McCain's funeral.
In September 2017, McCain said in a speech of Trump, "We are not the President's subordinates. We are his equals," powerfully arguing for the U.S. system of checks and balances.
Trump acknowledged McCain's passing with a tweet sending "deepest sympathies and respect" to McCain's family.
My deepest sympathies and respect go out to the family of Senator John McCain. Our hearts and prayers are with you!
McCain was divorced from first wife Carol in 1980. He is survived by his wife Cindy and seven children, including "The View" co-host Meghan McCain. He is also survived by his mother Roberta, who is 106.
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.
Meghan and Cindy both tweeted about McCain's death, and were with him when he died.
McCain with daughter Meghan in 2017
Tributes to McCain poured in from across the political spectrum.
Barack Obama said in a statement, "John McCain and I were members of different generatoins, came from completely different backgrounds, and competed at the highest level of politics. But we shared, for all our differences, a fidelity to something higher — the ideals for which generations of Americans and immigrants alike have fought, marched, and sacrificed... Michelle and I send our most heartfelt condolences to Cindy and their family."
More remembrances below:
John McCain believed that every citizen has a responsibility to make something of the freedoms given by our Constitution, and from his heroic service in the Navy to his 35 years in Congress, he lived by his creed every day. https://t.co/946T7PnG53
Statement from Joe Biden: "John McCain's life is proof that some truths are timeless. Character. Courage. Integrity. Honor. A life lived embodying those truths casts a long, long shadow. John McCain will cast a long shadow." pic.twitter.com/jFivHsfZNc
A true American patriot & hero has passed. John McCain was an example of a public policy maker who fought for what he believed in, and had the character & dignity to stand up for what was right -- even if he had to oppose some of his colleagues to do so.
John McCain was fiercely devoted to his family, his constituents, and his country. My heart goes out to his family and loved ones during this difficult time. As a nation, we all share in the sense of emptiness his passing has left behind.