McCain halts brain cancer treatment

Friends, colleagues hail senator for ‘spirit of service, civility’

The Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Arizona Sen. John McCain has discontinued medical treatment for an aggressive form of brain cancer, his family said Friday, likely indicating the war hero, presidential nominee and longtime leading lawmaker is nearing the end of his life.

McCain has surpassed expectations for survival, but “the progress of disease and the inexorable advance of age render their verdict,” the family said. “With his usual strength of will, he has now chosen to discontinue medical treatment.”

The six-term GOP senator, who will turn 82 next week, has been away from the Capitol since last December.

If he should resign his seat or die soon, Republican Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey would name a replacement to serve until the 2020 election. The winner of that election would serve the remainder of McCain’s term through 2022.

In more than three decades in Congress, McCain became known as a political maverick willing to stick to his convictions rather than go along with party leaders — an independent streak that has drawn a mix of respect and ire.

Most recently, he has been a thorn in the side of President Donald Trump, keeping up his criticism of the White House even while undergoing severe medical treatment in Arizona.

Despite his famous stubborn streak and occasional orneriness, McCain is widely admired on both sides of the aisle, and tributes poured in Friday after the family announced the treatment decision.

“We are so fortunate to call him our friend and colleague,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Twitter. McCain, his wife Cindy “and the entire McCain family are in our prayers at this incredibly difficult hour,” McConnell said.

Arizona Gov. Ducey called McCain “an American hero” who always put his country before himself.

A “spirt of service and civility” guided McCain’s life, standing as a model for Americans regardless of political affiliation, Ducey said.

Cindy McCain tweeted that she loves her husband “with all of my heart” and thanked those who have cared for him.