Republican Senator John McCain has died aged 81 after battling a rare form of brain cancer. The former presidential candidate had been diagnosed with a malignant brain tumour in the summer of 2017.
“Senator John Sidney McCain III died at 4:28 p.m. on August 25, 2018,” McCain’s office said in the statement. “With the Senator when he passed were his wife Cindy and their family. At his death, he had served the United States of America faithfully for sixty years.”
McCain is survived by his wife Cindy and seven children. His family said late August that McCain had decided to discontinue treatment for his illness, due to the “progress of disease and the inexorable advance of age.”
John Sidney McCain III was born on August 29, 1936, on a US Naval base in Panama, which at the time was under the control of the United States. In joining the navy, McCain followed a family tradition – both his father and grandfather were admirals – though he proved a less than model pupil, finishing 5th from bottom in a class of 895.
McCain went on to serve as a combat pilot in the Vietnam War, where he was captured and detained – at one point in the notorious Hoa Loa prison, nicknamed the ‘Hanoi Hilton’ – as a prisoner of war. McCain endured unspeakable torture and deprivation until his release in 1973. After release, he was awarded the Silver Star, Bronze Star, Purple Heart and Distinguished Flying Cross.
Back in the US, McCain entered politics in 1980. He was elected to the to the US House of Representatives in November 1982; and to the Senate in 1986. Nicknamed “the maverick” for his willingness to break the party line in his fight for campaign finance reform and against the tobacco industry, McCain distinguished himself as a Republican, eventually mounting an unsuccessful bid for the presidency against Barack Obama in 2008.