Sen. John McCain, who was diagnosed with brain cancer last year, has made the decision to discontinue medical treatment, his family said in a statement on Friday.
“Last summer, Senator John McCain shared with Americans the news our family already knew: he had been diagnosed with an aggressive glioblastoma, and the prognosis was serious. In the year since, John has surpassed expectations for his survival. But the progress of disease and the inexorable advance of age render their verdict. With his usual strength of will, he has now chosen to discontinue medical treatment,” the family of the Arizona Republican said in a statement.
McCain, the 2008 Republican presidential nominee, is a key voice in the Republican Party.
Although McCain’s colleagues had braced for the worst following his cancer prognosis a year ago, Friday’s announcement left them shaken. It effectively closes a tumultuous Washington career that included two unsuccessful presidential runs and saw McCain emerge as a singular political figure, an icon of the Senate and latterly as a vehement critic of President Donald Trump.
The statement from McCain’s family went on to say, “Our family is immensely grateful for the support and kindness of all his caregivers over the last year, and for the continuing outpouring of concern and affection from John’s many friends and associates, and the many thousands of people who are keeping him in their prayers. God bless and thank you all.”
McCain’s wife and daughter both put out additional statements on Twitter.
Cindy McCain, the senator’s wife, wrote in a tweet, “I love my husband with all of my heart. God bless everyone who has cared for my husband along this journey.”
The senator’s daughter, Meghan McCain, said in a tweet, “My family is deeply appreciative of all the love and generosity you have shown us during this past year. Thank you for all your continued support and prayers. We could not have made it this far without you – you’ve given us strength to carry on.”
Senators, elected officials react
Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called the news “very sad,” and said on Twitter that “John, Cindy, and the entire McCain family are in our prayers at this incredibly difficult hour.”
“Very sad to hear this morning’s update from the family of our dear friend @SenJohnMcCain. We are so fortunate to call him our friend and colleague. John, Cindy, and the entire McCain family are in our prayers at this incredibly difficult hour,” McConnell tweeted.
Democratic Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer tweeted, “My thoughts and prayers are with Senator McCain and his family.”
Arizona Republican Gov. Doug Ducey said in a statement, “John McCain is an American hero, always putting country before self. From Vietnam to the halls of the U.S. Senate, the spirit of service and civility that has guided Senator McCain’s life stands as a model for all Americans, regardless of political affiliation.” The governor said that he and his wife Angela “had the great privilege of visiting with Senator McCain and Cindy in May. Then and now, our prayers and our hearts are with them and their entire family.”