John McCain, War Hero, Dies at 81, after Succumbing to Brain Cancer

On Saturday, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) passed away at the age of 81. His family announced on Friday that he had decided not to continue medical treatment for his glioblastoma. A prisoner of war in Vietnam for five and a half years, McCain launched a powerful presidential bid in 2008 and served 31 years in the U.S. Senate.

An aide told the Associated Press that McCain had passed away around 8:30 p.m. EST Saturday.

Long dubbed a "maverick," McCain often bucked political trends. He tussled with Donald Trump, and ultimately voted against the Republican effort to repeal Obamacare. That vote made him a hero among liberals and Democrats, and anathema to many Republicans.

Despite their disagreements in the past, President Donald Trump expressed his "deepest sympathies and respect" to McCain's family. "My deepest sympathies and respect go out to the family of Senator John McCain. Our hearts and prayers are with you!" Trump tweeted.

Shortly before McCain's passing, Vice President Mike Pence shared his own prayers for the senator. "Karen and I are praying for Senator John McCain, Cindy and their family this weekend," Pence tweeted. "May God bless them all during this difficult time."

Mitt Romney, former Massachusetts governor and current candidate for U.S. Senate in Arizona, was first out of the gate with a comment on McCain's passing.

"John McCain holds a much greater presence in the American consciousness than the average Senator or even the typical losing presidential candidate. It’s not that he is universally loved: heaven knows how he has been attacked by members of his own political party, including by his President. It’s not that his policy prescriptions and legislative accomplishments stand far above those of his Senate colleagues," Romney wrote. "Rather, it is a matter of his character: In a sea of politicians blown about by polls and passions, he is as immovable as an anchor held fast by rock."

"No person this century better exemplifies the great qualities of patriotism than John McCain," Romney declared. "Ones like him don’t come along very often. Ann and I will miss him a great deal. He is a hero. He is a friend."

McCain's daughter Meghan tweeted a long and heart-warming statement announcing his death. Her final words proved particularly moving.

"My father is gone, and I miss him as only an adoring daughter can," she tweeted. "But in this loss, and in this sorrow, I take comfort in this: John McCain, hero of the republic and to this little girl, wakes today to something more glorious than anything on this earth."

"Today the warrior enters his true and eternal life, greeted by those who have gone before him, rising to meet the Author of All Things," she wrote.

Amen.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.