Senator John McCain has passed away at age 81, according to the New York Times.
The 2008 presidential candidate died at 4:28 p.m. local time at his Arizona home. He was diagnosed with glioblastoma, a type of malignant brain tumor, in 2017. Senator McCain had been receiving chemotherapy and radiation therapy on and off since the tumor was discovered last year. His family released a statement just one day ago stating he would no longer be treating the brain cancer.
McCain has been widely regarded as a war hero, spending five-and-a-half years as a prisoner of war after his plane was shot down over Hanoi during the Vietnam war. He spent two years in solitary confinement and was repeatedly tortured by his captors. After returning home he faced long months of recovery from the injuries he sustained during his time as a POW. When he retired from the Navy, he settled in Arizona.
From 1983 to 1987, he served two terms in the House Of Representatives. In 1987 he began his first of six terms in the Senate. His political aspirations did not end there. McCain first ran for president in 2000, losing the Republican nomination to George W. Bush. He ran again in 2008 and this time secured the party’s nomination, choosing Alaska Senator Sarah Palin as his running mate. He lost to Barack Obama, with 46 percent of the popular vote, and 173 electoral college votes to Obama’s 53 percent and 365 votes.
After the election, McCain returned to represent Arizona in the Senate. He endorsed Mitt Romney in the presidential campaign of 2012, when sitting President Barack Obama was re-elected. Despite being a vocal critic of President Obama, McCain soon became a central figure in the Senate and met often with the president, drafting bi-partisan deals with him. He was also a member of the bi-partisan group referred to as the Gang of Eight, that sought compromise for immigration reform.
In 2015, McCain became the chairman of the Armed Services Committee, a goal he had long held. When President Donald Trump was elected in 2016, Senator McCain was one of the few powerful Republicans to use his voice to push back against the new president’s provocative and sometimes inflammatory statements.
Despite his health struggles in the past year, Senator McCain made a point to be on the floor for a dramatic appearance to accompany his thumbs down vote against the Republican party’s attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Though he was not able to vote on the tax reform bill in December, his endorsement was key to the single piece of legislature that was passed by the Trump administration in 2017.
CNN reports that McCain wrote his own funeral service. He will be remembered for being a man of honor and principle, one who survived and ultimately triumphed over adversity.