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Sen. John McCain dead at age 81

He represented Arizona in the Senate since 1987
Posted at 5:23 PM, Aug 25, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-25 21:54:28-04

Sen. John McCain died today after a yearlong battle with an aggressive form of brain cancer, according to his family. He was 81 years old.

McCain represented Arizona in the Senate since 1987.

John Sidney McCain III, was born in 1936 in the Panama Canal Zone, where his father was serving in the Navy.
His father and grandfather were both four-star admirals.

McCain became a naval officer too when he graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1958.

During the Vietnam War in 1967, McCain almost died in a disastrous fire on USS Forrestal.

Later that same year, he was seriously injured when the North Vietnamese shot down his jet over Hanoi.


McCain was badly hurt when he ejected. He was captured, imprisoned and tortured. His injuries affected him the rest of his life. 

When the North Vietnamese learned McCain was the son of an Admiral, they offered to release him. Rather than become a propaganda tool, McCain stayed with his fellow prisoners until they were all freed in 1973.
Back in the U.S., McCain's introduction to politics came when he served as a Navy liaison to Congress.
He was a Captain when he retired from the Navy in 1981, and moved to Arizona.

In 1982, voters sent him to the U.S. House.

And in 1986 Arizona voters made him a U.S. Senator and sent him back to the Senate five times.

John McCain made his first run for the Presidency in 2000, but lost the nomination to George W. Bush.
McCain had to wait for eight years for another chance, when Republicans chose him to lead their ticket in 2008. He lost the general election to Barack Obama.

John McCain sometimes split with his party on key issues.  Some called him a maverick.
After 2008, he stuck to more conservative stances, often critical of the Obama administration.
But he was still willing to criticize his party.
Speaking at Tucson's Raytheon plant he said Democrats and Republicans were making cuts to military budgets deep enough to put troops in danger.

He told Raytheon workers: "I'd like to blame it all on the Democrats.  In fact maybe I will anyway, but there are Republicans that are such deficit hawks that they don't understand the world has changed since 2011, my dear friends, and we are overtaxing, over employing, overworking our men and women and the equipment that they use."
Senators gave him a warm welcome when he returned after his cancer diagnosis.  He scolded them for years of partisan gridlock and urged them to put the country ahead of political warfare.

"What have we to lose by trying to work together to try to find those solutions? We're not getting much done apart. I don't think any of us feels very proud of our incapacity."
But now the man whose courage, determination and toughness saw him through enough challenges for more than one lifetime is dead at age 81.

McCain is survived by his wife, Cindy, as well as seven children.