McCain Dies of Same Cancer as Ted Kennedy 9 Years Later on Same Day
WASHINGTON -- Cindy McCain tweeted today, "My heart is broken. I am so lucky to have lived the adventure of loving this incredible man for 38 years. He passed the way he lived, on his own terms, surrounded by the people he loved, in the the place he loved best."
Six-term Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), 81, passed away in Sedona, Ariz., nine years to the day that his friend Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) passed away from the same kind of brain cancer, and Kennedy's widow Victoria Reggie Kennedy said that "John's example summons us, in his memory, to live up to what is best in ourselves and to honor what is best in others."
"In word and deed, he taught us to be valiant in the truest sense -- faithful to our ideals and principles, but never demonizing those who differ," she said, adding that McCain and Kennedy "both loved this country and loved each other."
Former Vice President Joe Biden, who lost his son Beau to glioblastoma and was helping the McCain family through the senator's illness, said McCain's "impact on America hasn't ended -- not even close."
"The spirit that drove him was never extinguished: we are here to commit ourselves to something bigger than ourselves," Biden said. "John was many things -- a proud graduate of the Naval Academy, a Senate colleague, a political opponent. But, to me, more than anything, John was a friend... I will miss him dearly."
McCain's running mate in the 2008 presidential election, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, tweeted, "Today we lost an American original. Sen. John McCain was a maverick and a fighter, never afraid to stand for his beliefs. John never took the easy path in life - and through sacrifice and suffering he inspired others to serve something greater than self."
"John McCain was my friend. I will remember the good times," she added. "My family and I send prayers for Cindy and the McCain family."
His opponent in that election, former President Barack Obama, noted that he and McCain "were members of different generations, came from completely different backgrounds, and competed at the highest level of politics," but "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."
"Few of us have been tested the way John once was, or required to show the kind of courage that he did. But all of us can aspire to the courage to put the greater good above our own," Obama said. "At John’s best, he showed us what that means. And for that, we are all in his debt. Michelle and I send our most heartfelt condolences to Cindy and their family."
Obama and former President George W. Bush have been asked to give eulogies at McCain's funeral. Details about the service have not yet been released.
"Some lives are so vivid, it is difficult to imagine them ended. Some voices are so vibrant, it is hard to think of them stilled," Bush said today. "John McCain was a man of deep conviction and a patriot of the highest order. He was a public servant in the finest traditions of our country. And to me, he was a friend whom I'll deeply miss. Laura and I send our heartfelt sympathies to Cindy and the entire McCain family, and our thanks to God for the life of John McCain."
Tributes to McCain, the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, poured in from both sides of the aisle and from different sectors of government. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford said McCain "exemplified what it means to be a warrior and dedicated public servant" and noted that the senator "traveled the world to meet personally with soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen, to hear what they had to say, and to see firsthand our military in action on the front lines."
"Senator McCain recognized the sacrifice and hardships military members and their families can experience and proudly served as their champion in Congress. He visited our nation's wounded warriors around the country to offer encouragement and to thank them for their service," Dunford said. "Through his tenacious and selfless leadership in the Senate, he fought hard to ensure our Armed Forces remained strong and had the support and resources needed to succeed when placed in harm's way."