Arizona Senator John McCain's family shared some news on Friday. According to The New York Times, the family announced that McCain will end treatment for his brain cancer. McCain's family is gathered around him in Arizona, and people close to him told The Times that his death may be near.
“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,” the family said in the statement. “With his usual strength of will, he has now chosen to discontinue medical treatment.”
McCain — who famously spent over five years as prisoner of war while serving in the Navy during the Vietnam War — has been in treatment for primary glioblastoma since July of last summer, according to The Phoenix New Times.
The senator is known as something of a maverick — he’s butted heads with Donald Trump and gone against his party when it comes to issues such as campaign finance reform. Last year, McCain gave the deciding thumbs down that killed a repeal of the Affordable Care Act during a late-night vote, The Arizona Republic reported. After Trump met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in July, McCain vehemently criticized Trump. The Washington Post reported that he said the meeting was "one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory."
Aside from that Trump censuring, McCain has generally stayed out of the public spotlight since December, according to The Times.
Throughout his career, McCain has run for the presidency twice. He won the Republican nomination in 2008, later losing to former President Barack Obama.
At 81, McCain has lived a storied life. In an Esquire profile written last year by David Usborne, McCain joked that no one expected him to live past his 30s. He told Usborne that he was grateful for the life he’s lived.
“The greatest impulse you have is self-pity, you know? ‘Oh my God, why me?’” he said. “They say there’s a lot of people who, once they’re diagnosed, just sit there waiting to die. That’s not what life should be about, and that’s not how I have approached the issue. Every once in a while, do I feel sorry for myself? Hell yeah! It’s fun. It’s really a pleasant experience to feel sorry for yourself. But overall, all I have is gratitude for a life well lived.”
McCain's daughter, Meghan McCain — a columnist and co-host of The View — went on Twitter to share the announcement and express her appreciation for the widespread public support.
"My family is deeply appreciative of all the love and generosity you have shown us during this past year," Meghan McCain wrote. "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."
Public figures and lawmakers across both parties — from Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris to actor Rob Reiner to Republican Mitt Romney — have taken to Twitter to show their support for McCain.
Romney, who was the Republican presidential nominee in 2012, tweeted that "no man this century better exemplifies honor, patriotism, service, sacrifice, and country first than Senator John McCain."
Last November, McCain gave Esquire's Usborne a glimpse into what he would do if his brain cancer progressed: “I have enough close friends. They would probably get together, six or seven people who have been with me the last thirty years, and say, ‘John, go on up to the cabin and enjoy the sunrises and the sunsets.’ And I promise you I would go, and I would never come out again.”