Senator John McCain Remembered in Outpouring of Tributes

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A nationwide outpouring of tributes followed the death of John McCain after the senior Arizona senator died on Saturday at the age of 81.

McCain died at home one day after his family announced that he was forgoing treatment for a deadly form of brain cancer, a diagnosis that McCain revealed last summer.

Politicians of all stripes remembered McCain, the complex character who represented Arizona during six terms in the Senate, with statements that captured the arc of McCain's life: the ambitious young naval pilot held captive and tortured in Vietnam, a "maverick" who ran for president twice, and the Republican elder statesman who repeatedly defied Donald Trump after the billionaire won the presidency.

By Saturday evening, a motorcade was en route to Phoenix from the McCain ranch with state troopers escorting the late senator's body. Flags were lowered to half-staff at the Arizona State Capitol and at the White House.

His wife, Cindy McCain, remembered her late husband as an "incredible man" who passed on his own terms, "surrounded by the people he loved, in the place he loved best."

Meghan McCain, his daughter, said in a statement that she was with her father "at the end."

"All that I am is thanks to him," she said. "Now that he is gone, the task of my lifetime is to live up to his example, his expectations, and his love."

Arizona Governor Doug Ducey said that McCain will not be forgotten. "He was a giant. An icon. An American hero. But here at home, we were most proud to call him a fellow Arizonan," Ducey said in a statement.

The weighty responsibility now falls on Ducey to appoint a replacement for McCain's seat in the Senate in a term that will last until 2020. Plans are already in the works to rename the Senate's Russell office building in honor of McCain.

Former president Barack Obama, who defeated McCain in the 2008 presidential election, remembered his former rival as a man from a different generation who nonetheless shared his ideals. "Few of us have been tested the way John once was, or required to show the kind of courage that he did," Obama said in a statement.  Other past presidents, including Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, also joined in to praise the late McCain.

President Trump, who savaged McCain's legacy as a war hero and heaped scorn on the senator for his vote against a repeal of the Affordable Care Act, issued a tweet that expressed "sympathies and respect" for McCain's family but which did not memorialize or praise McCain specifically.

Arizona's junior Senator Jeff Flake – also a frequent target of Trump's ire – remembered McCain by saying that the world had lost "a hero and statesman," but he had lost "a wonderful friend." 

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