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Sen. McCain loses battle with cancer, dies at 81

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Jude Johnson 

A long serving member of the United States (US) Congress, Sen. John McCain is dead.

A terse statement from his office said that McCain, the ex-Presidential candidate and staunch Republican,  died on Saturday surrounded by his family.

McCain, who died at the age of 81, according to CNN, was a naval bomber pilot, prisoner of war, conservative maverick, giant of the Senate, twice-beaten presidential candidate and an abrasive American hero with a twinkle in his eye.

He was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumor in July 2017 and had been undergoing medical treatment.

Last Friday, his family announced that McCain had decided to stop treatment.

Before his death, he was in the Senate for the sixth term.
He was also a Republican presidential nominee in 2008.

He was diagnosed after doctors discovered his tumor during surgery to remove a blood clot from above his left eye last July.

The son and grandson of Navy admirals, McCain was a fighter pilot during the Vietnam War.
When his plane was shot down, he spent more than five years as a prisoner of war.

While in the custody of his captors, he suffered torture that left him with lasting disabilities.

In a memoir he published in May, McCain said that he hated to leave the world, but had no complaints.
He wrote, “It’s been quite a ride. I’ve known great passions, seen amazing wonders, fought in a war, and helped make peace.”

“I’ve lived very well and I’ve been deprived of all comforts. I’ve been as lonely as a person can be and I’ve enjoyed the company of heroes. I’ve suffered the deepest despair and experienced the highest exultation.

“I made a small place for myself in the story of America and the history of my times’, he wrote.
McCain left Washington in December 2017 to attend to his health.

He often disagreed with the US President, Mr Donald Trump.

CNN reported in May, that the McCains did not want Trump at his funeral.

However, former rivals and Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush had been asked to give eulogies.
According to reports, McCain spent his last few months out of the public eye in his adopted home state of Arizona, reflecting on the meaning of his life and accepting visits from a stream of friends and old political combatants.

Prior to his death, he was not completely quiet, blasting President Trump in a series of tweets and statements that showed that while he was ailing he had lost none of his appetite for the political fight.

“The Arizona Senator repeatedly made clear that he saw Trump and his America First ideology as a departure from the values and traditions of global leadership that he saw epitomized in the United States”, CNN reported.

Asked how he wanted to be remembered, McCain said: “He served his country, and not always right — made a lot of mistakes, made a lot of errors — but served his country, and, I hope we could add, honorably.”
McCain was divorced from his first wife, Carol, in 1980.

He is survived by his wife, Cindy, and seven children, including three sons who continued the family tradition of serving in the armed forces and a daughter, Meghan, who is a presenter on ABC’s “The View.”
He also left behind his mother, Roberta, aged 106.

For his military service, he was awarded the Silver Star, the Bronze Star, the Legion of Merit, a Purple Heart and the Distinguished Flying Cross.

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