US Senator and War Hero John McCain Dies at Age 81

John McCain, the one-time prisoner of war who overcame battle scars to mount a successful political career that nearly led to the White House, has died after a public year-long battle with brain cancer. He was 81.

McCain’s daughter, Meghan, released a statement on Twitter confirming her father’s passing. 

Born John Sidney McCain III in 1936 to a Navy family stationed in Panama, the future presidential hopeful first gained national attention after being shot down over Hanoi while serving as a naval aviator in the Vietnam War. He was captured behind enemy lines, then imprisoned and tortured for five and a half years. During that time, the young fighter sustained injuries that would last him the rest of his life.

McCain continued a sterling Navy career after his release, eventually entering politics in the ’80s. He successfully ran for congress as an Arizona representative in 1982 and entered the senate in 1987. During his many decades in Washington, McCain earned a reputation as a maverick who was always willing to put his country over party and ideology. His drive to serve would push him to thoughts of higher office. The politician and war hero ran an unsuccessful bid for the White House in 2000, losing the primary race to then-Texas governor George W. Bush, before being chosen to represent the Republican party in the 2008 presidential election. After ceding that race to fellow senator Barack Obama, McCain continued to serve another decade in the US Senate.

In July 2017, the esteemed politician was diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer. He chose to discontinue treatment of the disease on August 24, 2018.

“Nothing in life is more liberating than to fight for a cause larger than yourself, something that encompasses you but is not defined by your existence alone,” McCain wrote in Faith of My Fathers: A Family Memoir.

He is survived by his 106-year-old mother, Roberta; his second wife, Cindy McCain; and several children, including writer and co-host of The View, Meghan McCain. Our thoughts are with his family at this time.

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