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John McCain, US senator and former presidential candidate, dead at 81

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John McCain, US senator and former presidential candidate, dead at 81

John McCain, a longtime Republican U.S. senator and former prisoner of war in Vietnam, died on Aug. 25 after battling an aggressive form of brain cancer. He was 81.

The announcement of the senator's death came just a day after his family announced that he had decided to end his cancer treatment.

First elected to the Senate in 1986, McCain was the Republican nominee for president in 2008, losing to former President Barack Obama. McCain was a critic of President Donald Trump during the 2016 campaign and maintained that rhetorical stance after Trump won the White House.

"My deepest sympathies and respect go out to the family of Senator John McCain," Trump said in a Twitter post.

As a senator, McCain became known as an advocate for veterans and campaign finance reform. He defied GOP leadership in 2017 by voting against the Republican plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act, killing the legislation in the Senate after it passed the House of Representatives.

"Words cannot express the sorrow I feel at John McCain's passing," Jeff Flake, McCain's fellow Arizona senator, said in statement. "The world has lost a hero and a statesman."

John Sidney McCain III was born Aug. 29, 1936 in the Panama Canal Zone. A graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, McCain became a pilot served in the Navy until 1981. In 1967, his plane was shot down over North Vietnam he was held in Hanoi for five years.

McCain entered politics after retiring from the military and was elected to the U.S. House from Arizona in 1982. He later won six terms in the Senate.

Before McCain's death, Republicans held a 51-49 seat edge in the Senate. Under Arizona law Gov. Doug Ducey is empowered to appoint a replacement.

The appointee must be a Republican and will serve through the next statewide election in 2020. The winner of that election would serve the remainder of McCain's current term, which expires in 2023.