“The progress of disease and the inexorable advance of age render their verdict. With his usual strength of will, he has now chosen to discontinue medical treatment,” the family said.
McCain’s wife, Cindy, said: “God bless everyone who has cared for my husband along this journey.”
The Arizona Republican Senator has been battling the condition this year after being diagnosed with a particulary aggressive form of cancer. McCain is a war hero, six-term senator and 2008 GOP presidential nominee.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who journeyed to Arizona to be with McCain earlier this year, said senators have been “fortunate to call him our friend and colleague.”
“May the prayers and affection of his country, and of friends around the world, surround John and his beloved family in these peaceful final hours,” said Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.)
“From Vietnam to the halls of the U.S. Senate, the spirit of service and civility that has guided Senator McCain’s life stands as a model for all Americans, regardless of political affiliation,” said Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R).
McCain has not voted in the Senate since 2017 and the Senate GOP has accordingly been hobbled by his absence, with just a 50-seat majority in Washington. If he were to resign or die, Ducey would appoint his replacement. McCain won reelection to a six-year term in 2016.
McCain’s Arizona colleague, Jeff Flake, has followed in McCain’s straight-talking stance during senator’s absence. But Flake is retiring and the primary to replace him is on Tuesday.
The Arizona Republican has left a major mark on the Senate during his career, but particularly the last 18 months. He banded with two moderate GOP colleagues to stop repeal of Obamacare and has continued putting out statements criticizing President Donald Trump for his closeness to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Ever since President Trump attacked McCain for being captured in Vietnam, the two have regarded each other icily and a number of Republicans have come to McCain’s defense. However, Trump has continued to criticize McCain even as he fights a debilitating condition, singling him out repeatedly this summer for opposing repeal of the health care law.