John McCain Is Dead at 81

"All that I am is thanks to him," wrote daughter Meghan.

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Senator John McCain, a war hero, Senate giant, and former presidential candidate, died on Saturday afternoon. He was 81. His office released a statement on Saturday afternoon confirming McCain's death: "With the Senator when he passed were his wife Cindy and their family," it noted. "At his death, he had served the United States of America faithfully for sixty years."

McCain had been treating brain cancer for more than a year. Earlier this week, his family confirmed that McCain had chosen to discontinue his treatment of the disease. "With his usual strength of will, he has now chosen to discontinue medical treatment," his family said in a statement prior to his passing.

Even during his struggle with brain cancer, McCain frequently vocalized his resistance to President Donald Trump's administration and many of his policies. After the now-infamous "grab her by the p*ssy" tape was leaked by the Washington Post in 2016, McCain refused to stand by the now-president, breaking with most of his party to do so. "When Mr. Trump attacks women and demeans the women in our nation and in our society, that is a point where I just have to part company," he explained at the time.

A year earlier, Trump had openly disparaged McCain's service during the Vietnam War, saying he preferred "people that weren’t captured." As a young man, McCain had been held as a prisoner of war for five years, suffering torture and injuries that would leave him with disabilities for the rest of his life. He was at one point offered early release, but courageously declined. McCain, who was released in 1973, is universally regarded as an American hero for his service.

McCain served six terms in the Senate, and ran for president twice: In 2000, when he ultimately lost the nomination to George W. Bush, and in 2008, when he faced Barack Obama in the presidential race as the Republican nominee.

In an increasingly heated political climate, McCain was regarded as the rare breed of politician who was affable and respectful to to others no matter their politics, and warranted respect whether you agreed with him or not. During a notable moment in which an observer told McCain that she was wary of Obama for being "an Arab," McCain replied: “No, ma’am. He’s a decent family man, a citizen that I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues.”

His daughter, the television host and political commentator Meghan McCain, posted a statement to Twitter following his passing.

President Trump and former president Barack Obama also posted condolences to Twitter.

McCain and his wife of more than 35 years, Cindy, had four children together, and McCain also had three children with his ex-wife Carol. He also leaves behind five grandchildren.

Jenny Hollander
Digital Director

Jenny is the Digital Director at Marie Claire. A graduate of Leeds University, and a native of London, she moved to New York in 2012 to attend the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. She was the first intern at Bustle when it launched in 2013, and spent five years building out its news and politics department. In 2018 she joined Marie Claire, where she held the roles of Deputy Digital Editor and Director of Content Strategy before becoming Digital Director. Working closely with Marie Claire's exceptional editorial, audience, commercial, and e-commerce teams, Jenny oversees the brand's digital arm, with an emphasis on driving readership. When she isn't editing or knee-deep in Google Analytics, you can find Jenny writing about television, celebrities, her lifelong hate of umbrellas, or (most likely) her dog, Captain. In her spare time, she also writes fiction: her first novel, the thriller EVERYONE WHO CAN FORGIVE ME IS DEAD, was published with Minotaur Books (UK) and Little, Brown (US) in February 2024 and became a USA Today bestseller. She has also written extensively about developmental coordination disorder, or dyspraxia, which she was diagnosed with when she was nine. She is currently working on her second novel.