US Senator John McCain dies aged 81

Cheryl Sanders
August 26, 2018

"Senator John Sidney McCain III died at 4:28pm on August 25, 2018".

Sen. McCain chose to stop treatment for the brain cancer he had been battling for over a year, his family said Friday in an announcement that precipitated a rare moment of bipartisan empathy in honor of the Vietnam war hero and Republican political veteran. He was the Republican Party's nominee for president in the 2008 election.

"I've known great passions, seen incredible wonders, fought in a war and helped make peace". The State Library of New South Wales made the Mitchell Library Reading Room available for the occasion, one of only a handful of times the magnificent room has been used for a public event in its 100-year history.

In his last hours, McCain turned down further treatment, his family announced in a statement.

In a joint statement, the former U.S. leader and ex-secretary of state said: "Senator 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".

Near the driveway to his ranch in a rural part of Sedona, Arizona, a sign read "Sen McCain, thank you for your service".

His family said he would lie in state in Phoenix, Arizona, and in Washington DC before a funeral at the Washington National Cathedral and his burial in Annapolis, Maryland. Dates for the events have not yet been announced.

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Mr Trump also attacked the senator, saying he became a notable Vietnam War veteran because he was captured.

He has been an opponent of the current president Donald Trump and voted against the repeal of the healthcare reforms, known as Obamacare, put in place by the previous government.

With his father a US Navy submarine commander and his grandfather an admiral, McCain follows their footsteps into a military career.

The president, who as a candidate in 2016 mocked McCain's capture in Vietnam, had jabbed at the ailing senator for voting against Republican efforts to roll back President Barack Obama's health care law.

"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".

The sharp-tongued McCain had disagreements with many fellow politicians - including inside his own camp - but the Republican stalwart was widely recognised for his deep integrity, and condolences came swift from the highest reaches of American politics.

Former prime minister Ehud Barak said that McCain, a longtime personal friend, was among the few principled political leaders today.

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McCain "was a man of honor, a true patriot in the best sense of the word", wrote Democrat Jimmy Carter (1977-1981).

The scion of a decorated military family, McCain embraced his role as chairman of the Armed Services Committee, pushing for aggressive USA military intervention overseas and eager to contribute to "defeating the forces of radical Islam that want to destroy America".

McCain spent more than three decades in the Senate, looming large in debates over war and peace and the moral direction of the nation. Before joining the upper chamber, he served as a United States representative from 1983 to 1987.

The US senator's final chapter began in 2017 with an announcement that he had brain cancer and was going to reduce his duties in the Senate, as he underwent treatment.

Former vice-president Joe Biden, who developed a friendship with McCain while they served together in the Senate, said the Arizona lawmaker will "cast a long shadow". "Senator John McCain was a maverick and a fighter, never afraid to stand for his beliefs".

"The spirit that drove him was never extinguished: we are here to commit ourselves to something bigger than ourselves", Mr Biden said. After graduating from the Naval Academy in 1958, McCain went to Vietnam.

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