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John McCain, senator and war hero, dies at 81

Tributes pour in for the longtime Arizona senator, who died a day after announcing his decision to end treatment for brain cancer.

McCain Holds Townhall Meeting In York, Pennsylvania
Arizona Sen. John McCain died Saturday at 81.
William Thomas Cain / Getty Images

John McCain, a war hero who had a long career as a US senator, died Saturday after battling brain cancer for more than a year. He was 81.

McCain died a day after announcing he was ending his medical treatment for the aggressive form of cancer. The six-term Republican senator and one-time GOP presidential nominee has been away from Washington since December. He would have turned 82 next week.

The son and grandson of Navy admirals, McCain spent more than five years as a North Vietnamese prisoner of war after his Navy plane was shot down in 1967. After subjecting McCain to torture and solitary confinement, his captors offered the injured McCain an early release as a propaganda ploy. He refused, insisting that prisoners should be released in the order they were captured.

McCain was the Republican nominee for president in 2008, with Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate, but lost to President Barack Obama. McCain also campaigned for the GOP nomination in 2000 but lost to President George W. Bush, who won the election.

McCain was prominent in tech-related issues, joining a group of senators trying to beef up laws around political ads that appear online, after Russian interference in the 2016 election. He co-authored the Honest Ads Act bill, which would create the same rules for online political ads that already cover ads sold on TV and radio. 

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey called McCain "an American hero" who always put his country before himself. His wife, Cindy, remembered her husband as living life on his own terms.

President Donald Trump, with whom McCain frequently clashed and questioned McCain's status as a war hero, tweeted out his condolences:

Other notable tweets on McCain:

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