John McCain dead at 81
WASHINGTON— U.S. Senator John McCain, a former prisoner of war in Vietnam who ran for president in 2008 as a self-styled maverick Republican and became a prominent critic of President Donald Trump, died on Saturday, his office said. He was 81.
A senator for Arizona for more than three decades, McCain had been suffering from glioblastoma, a brain cancer, since July 2017 and had not been at the U.S. Capitol this year.
His family said on Friday that McCain was discontinuing cancer treatment.
He died on Saturday afternoon with his wife Cindy and other family members at his bedside. “At his death, he had served the United States of America faithfully for sixty years,” said a statement from his office.
McCain frequently sparred with Trump and told his family he did not want the president to attend his funeral, CNN reported, citing family friends.
Flags were flying at half-staff at the White House yesterday morning, hours after Trump tweeted his “deepest sympathies and respect” to McCain’s family.
McCain will lie in state in both Phoenix, Arizona, and in the Capitol Rotunda in Washington, D.C.
He will receive a full dress funeral service at the Washington National Cathedral, where Vice President Mike Pence is expected to represent the current administration, before being buried in Annapolis, Maryland, his family said.
Paying tribute to his 2008 election opponent, former President Barack Obama described McCain as an idealist and said there was “something noble” about their political battles.
Cindy McCain said her husband had “passed the way he lived, on his own terms, surrounded by the people he loved, in the place he loved best.”
“My heart is broken. I am so lucky to have lived the adventure of loving this incredible man for 38 years,” she wrote on Twitter.
The vacancy created by McCain’s death narrows the number of Republican-held seats in the 100-member U.S. Senate to 50, with Democrats controlling 49. Republican Arizona Governor Doug Ducey was expected to appoint a member of his own party to succeed McCain.
That could also give Republicans a slight edge in the battle to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court in the weeks ahead because McCain had been too ill to cast any votes this year.
Alternatively affable and cantankerous, 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.—Reuters.