August 24, 2018
Family says Arizona senator, who was diagnosed with aggressive cancer last year, is showing ‘usual strength of will’
John McCain will no longer receive treatment for brain cancer, says family
John McCain will no longer receive treatment for brain cancer, the Arizona senator’s family said in a statement on Friday.
The 2008 Republican nominee for president, who is 81, was diagnosed with glioblastoma, an aggressive form of cancer, last year. He has been absent from the Senate.
The McCain family statement said: “The progress of disease and the inexorable advance of age render their verdict. With his usual strength of will, he has now chosen to discontinue medical treatment.”
McCain’s wife, Cindy McCain, said on Twitter: “I love my husband with all of my heart. God bless everyone who has cared for my husband along this journey.”
His daughter Meghan McCain, an analyst for ABC, wrote: “My family is deeply appreciative of all the love and generosity you have shown us during this past year.”
Even in his absence from Washington McCain has been a strong and prominent critic of Donald Trump and his administration, drawing regular fire from the president. Last week, Trump snubbed McCain by not mentioning his name during the signing of a defence spending bill named in the senator’s honour.
Long known as an independent-minded presence in Republican ranks, in July 2017 McCain made a dramatic late-night return to Capitol Hill from treatment, to cast the vote that sank an attempted repeal of the Affordable Care Act. He subsequently supported Trump’s package of tax cuts.
On Friday, the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, said on Twitter: “Very sad to hear this morning’s update from the family of our dear friend … We are so fortunate to call him our friend and colleague. John, Cindy, and the entire McCain family are in our prayers at this incredibly difficult hour.”
McCain is a key figure in a Senate chamber narrowly held by Republicans, in his sixth term as a senator from Arizona. If his seat is vacated before the end of this year, Republicans believe Governor Doug Ducey will appoint a successor to serve until 2020, when a special election would be triggered.
John McCain will no longer receive treatment for brain cancer, says family
Several possible replacements have been mooted, the most notable his wife, Cindy. Ducey, a Republican up for re-election this year, has refused to engage in speculation. On Friday, Ducey saluted McCain as “an American hero” and commended his “spirt of service and civility”.
His close friend Joe Lieberman, a former Democratic senator from Connecticut who was Al Gore’s running mate in 2000, said “becoming John McCain’s friend has been one of the great blessings of my life”.
McCain first ran for president in 2000, losing the Republican nomination to George W Bush. He ran again in 2008, losing the White House to Barack Obama.
McCain’s selection of the little-known Alaska governor Sarah Palin as his pick for vice-president has provoked endless debate, particularly regarding the emergence of the hard-right Tea Party movement and Trump’s capture of the party.
McCain discussed that decision and other key moments from his life in a memoir, The Restless Wave, that was published earlier this year. A documentary about his life, For Whom the Bell Tolls, was also released.
Since 2015, McCain has chaired the Senate armed services committee. A navy pilot during the Vietnam war, he endured torture and refused early release during more than five years as a prisoner in the North. Trump’s repeated criticism of McCain’s war record has stoked controversy and earned the president, who did not serve in Vietnam, rebukes from veterans and opponents alike.
On Friday, Trump did not immediately comment, not responding to shouted questions as he left the White House for a Republican fundraiser in Ohio.
Another Vietnam veteran, former senator, secretary of state and 2004 Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry, said McCain was “a brave man showing us once again what the words grace and grit really mean”.
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