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US senator John McCain dies at 81

By AFP

Added 26th August 2018 05:48 AM

While he had many disagreements with fellow politicians, the Republican stalwart's integrity was not at question.

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While he had many disagreements with fellow politicians, the Republican stalwart's integrity was not at question.

DEATH

US senator John McCain, a celebrated war hero known for reaching across the aisle in an increasingly divided America, died Saturday following a battle with brain cancer.

He was 81.

"Senator John Sidney McCain III died at 4:28 pm on August 25, 2018. With the senator when he passed were his wife Cindy and their family," his office said in a statement.

"At his death, he had served the United States of America faithfully for 60 years."

"Sen McCain, thank you for your service," read a sign near the driveway of his home in a rural part of Sedona, Arizona, television footage showed, as a police escort accompanied the hearse that was to carry his body and local residents came bearing flowers for the late political titan.

While he had many disagreements with fellow politicians, the Republican stalwart's integrity was not at question, and condolences came swift from the highest reaches of American politics after his passing.

September 4, 2008: Republican presidential nominee McCain acknowledges the audience at the end of the Republican National Convention 2008 at the Xcel Energy Center in St Paul, Minnesota


'All in his debt'

Ex-president Barack Obama, the Democrat to whom McCain lost the presidency in the 2008 elections, said "we are all in his debt."

"John McCain and I were members of different generations, came from completely different backgrounds and competed at the highest level of politics," Obama said in a statement.

"But 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."

Former vice president Al Gore -- who served under Democrat Bill Clinton -- said "I always admired and respected John from the opposite side of the aisle, because he thrived under pressure, and would work to find common ground, no matter how hard."

President Donald Trump, who once mocked McCain's war record, said he sent his "deepest sympathies and respect."

McCain had been a rare and outspoken Republican critic of Trump, accusing him of "naivete," "egotism" and of sympathizing with autocrats.

July 1, 2008: Republican presidential candidate Senator John McCain waves, next to his wife Cindy, upon his arrival to a military base in Cartagena, department of Bolivar, 1090 km north of Bogota, Colombia


On Capitol Hill, McCain became close friends with Senator Lindsey Graham and former senator Joe Lieberman -- a trio dubbed the "Three Amigos."

Now that the trio is missing its driving force, Graham wrote that "America and Freedom have lost one of her greatest champions... And I've lost one of my dearest friends and mentor."

McCain, who was tortured during his five years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, stopped treatment from an aggressive form of cancer earlier this week, his family saying "the progress of disease and the inexorable advance of age render their verdict."

He had 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 US representative from 1983 to 1987.

McCain had not been on the Senate floor in months, remaining at his Arizona home for treatment of glioblastoma -- the same form of brain cancer that took the life of another Senate giant, Democrat Ted Kennedy, in 2009.

Five major dates in the life of John McCain

October 19, 1992: McCain holds up photos of himself, as a 30-year-old man wounded and captured in 1967 in North Vietnam, outside the Army Museum in Hanoi

McCain spent 35 years in politics after a military career interrupted by his Hanoi confinement during the war in Vietnam. 

Here are five key dates in the life of the iconic Navy pilot-turned-politician:

August 29, 1936: John Sidney McCain III is born in the Panama Canal Zone. With his father a US Navy submarine commander and his grandfather an admiral, McCain follows their footsteps into a military career. He graduates from the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, and becomes a fighter pilot.

October 26, 1967: McCain's A-4E Skyhawk is shot down over Hanoi by a surface-to-air missile. He ejects and is taken prisoner. Fractures in both his arms and right leg are poorly treated, and McCain -- whose father has risen to become commander of all US forces in the Pacific, including Vietnam -- is beaten and tortured throughout his detention. He is released on March 15, 1973, at the end of US involvement in the war.

November 2, 1982: Upon leaving the military, McCain, recently remarried after divorcing his first wife, is elected to an Arizona seat in the US House of Representatives. Four years later he is elected to the Senate, where he was re-elected five times and serviced until his death, although his final months were spent away from the Senate floor as he underwent treatment for brain cancer in his home state of Arizona. His term would have ended in January 2022.

September 4, 2008: Eight years after a stinging defeat in the 2000 Republican presidential primaries to George W. Bush, McCain formally becomes the party's White House nominee against Democrat Barack Obama. He chooses a virtually unknown governor as his running mate: Alaska's Sarah Palin. The Republicans are defeated in November.

July 28, 2017: At around 1:30 am, McCain enters the Senate chamber and, with a dramatic thumbs down gesture, casts the deciding vote against the partial repeal of the Obamacare health law, torpedoing one of Trump's central campaign promises. The American president is livid.

 

 

Five major dates in the life of John McCain

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