News World Republican senator and war hero John McCain to discontinue treatment for brain cancer

Republican senator and war hero John McCain to discontinue treatment for brain cancer

Republican Senator John McCain, a fierce opponent of US President Donald Trump, is entering his final days. Photo: Getty
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US Senator John McCain, the Vietnam war hero and former Republican presidential nominee, has decided to end treatment for brain cancer after battling the disease for more than a year.

The family of the 81-year-old senator from Arizona made the announcement on Friday afternoon [local time], signalling the Republican stalwart was entering his final days.

Mr McCain was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumour in July 2017 and has remained largely absent from Washington since December while receiving treatment at his Arizona ranch.

“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,” read the statement from his family.

“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.”

John McCain Donald Trump
US Republican Senator John McCain, a former Navy pilot and POW, has stopped short of labelling Donald Trump a ‘draft dodger’ for getting five draft deferments. Photo: Getty

A prisoner of war in Vietnam for five years, Mr McCain later entered politics, in 2008 won the Republican nomination for president.

While absent from Washington, he has remained a central voice in US politics, issuing sharp rebukes to President Donald Trump over his close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Senators from both sides on Friday lauded Mr McCain’s service and expressed their condolences to the lawmaker’s family.

Senior Republicans including John Kerry and Mitt Romney described Mr McCain as a hero and man of great honour.

The son and grandson of four-star Navy admirals, Mr McCain served as a pilot during the Vietnam War before he was captured and held as a prisoner of war for five years between 1967 and 1973.

He entered politics in the 1980s and has served as Senator for Arizona since 1987. In 2008, Mr McCain secured the Republican nomination for president but was defeated by Barack Obama.

Despite identifying as a conservative, Mr McCain was one of the top five Republicans to back Mr Obama’s position on significant votes.

A strong opponent of Mr Trump, the senator has also bucked his party on several issues including the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

An advocate for expansive American foreign policy, Mr McCain has also been critical of Mr Trump’s isolationist approach to foreign relations and close relationship to Mr Putin, describing his performance as “disgraceful”.

In a blistering statement in July, Mr McCain criticised Mr Trump as a poor leader during a summit with Mr Putin in Finland.

“Today’s press conference in Helsinki was one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory,” he wrote.

“The damage inflicted by President Trump’s naivete, egotism, false equivalence, and sympathy for autocrats is difficult to calculate. But it is clear that the summit in Helsinki was a tragic mistake.”

Speaking to CNN last September shortly after he went public with his prognosis, McCain was optimistic, saying he was “very happy” with his life and what he had “been able to do.”

“I am able to celebrate a wonderful life and I will be grateful for additional time that I have,” the said.
Ebony Bowden contributed reporting from New York City.