US politician and war hero John McCain has died at the age of 81 after a brave battle with brain cancer.
The US senator and former prisoner of war passed away on Saturday evening (US time) with his loving wife Cindy and their family by his bedside.
“Senator John Sidney McCain III died at 4:28pm on August 25, 2018. With the senator when he passed were his wife Cindy and their family,” his office confirmed in a statement.
“At his death, he had served the United States of America faithfully for 60 years.”
Meanwhile, his wife Cindy admitted her “heart is broken” in a moving message on Twitter, writing: “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.”
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.
— Cindy McCain (@cindymccain) August 26, 2018
That was followed by a loving message from their daughter Meghan, who recalled her father’s final moments in a lengthy note, shared online.
It comes just hours after his family released a heartbreaking statement announcing he would be ceasing treatment for his aggressive brain cancer.
Shared by his wife Cindy online, the statement explained how McCain’s condition and battle against the aggressive gliblastoma eventually led him to make the difficult decision.
“In the year since (announcing the cancer), 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 statement read.
“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.”
The former presidential nominee, and once a prisoner of war, initially announced news of his cancer in July last year.
The tumour was discovered through tissue analysis after the senator had a blood clot removed from his eye.
US President Donald Trump led the tributes immediately after hearing the news, and wrote on Twitter: ”My deepest sympathies and respect go out to the family of Senator John McCain. Our hearts and prayers are with you!”
My deepest sympathies and respect go out to the family of Senator John McCain. Our hearts and prayers are with you!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 26, 2018
It follows a strained relationship between the pair, after Trump famously suggested in 2015 that the Vietnam veteran, who spent more than five years in a North Vietnamese prison after his Navy plane was shot down, was not a war hero.
The New York Times recently claimed that McCain had begun initial funeral planning, and his family had contacted Trump’s office asking for Vice President Mike Pence to attend the service instead of him.
Meanwhile, new Aussie PM Scott Morrison shared his own message on Twitter, writing: “Senator John McCain was a true friend of Australia who was committed to strengthening the alliance between our two nations.
“He was a man of great courage and conviction. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his wife, Cindy, and all the McCain family during this time.”
The Obamas shared their own lengthy message on Twitter too, praising his courage in both politics and the war, before sending their best wishes to Cindy and the rest of the senator’s family.