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John Sidney McCain III 1936 - 2018

Senator John McCain's remarkable record of leadership embodies his unwavering lifetime commitment to service. The son and grandson of distinguished Navy Admirals, Senator McCain graduated from the Naval Academy in 1958, and served as a Naval aviator for 22 years, including in North Vietnam during the Vietnam War.

On October 26, 1967, during Senator McCain's 23rd bombing mission over North Vietnam, a missile struck his plane and forced him to eject, knocking him unconscious and breaking both his arms and his leg.

Senator McCain was taken as a prisoner of war into the now-infamous "Hanoi Hilton," where he was denied needed medical treatment and subjected to years of torture by the North Vietnamese. He spent much of his time as a prisoner of war in solitary confinement, aided by his faith and the friendships of his fellow POWs.

When he was finally released and able to return home years later, Senator McCain continued his service by regaining his naval flight status.

His last Navy duty assignment was to serve as the naval liaison to the United States Senate. He retired from the Navy in 1981. His naval honors include the Silver Star, Bronze Star, Legion of Merit, Purple Heart, and the Distinguished Flying Cross.

Senator McCain was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from Arizona in 1982 and elected to the United States Senate in 1986. He was the Republican Party's nominee for president in the 2008 election.

Over the course of his career, Senator McCain served as Chairman of the Senate Committees on Indian Affairs, Commerce, Science and Transportation, and most recently, Armed Services.

Senator McCain is survived by his wife, Cindy, seven children and five grandchildren.
He was laid to rest at the U.S. Naval Academy Cemetery in Annapolis, Maryland.

Memorials and Services

There will be memorial events celebrating the life of Senator John Sidney McCain III in Arizona and Washington, D.C.
Please see below for more information:

The Story of John Sidney McCain III

U.S. Senator John Sidney McCain III was born on August 29, 1936 at Coco Solo Naval Air Station in the Panama Canal Zone to Lieutenant John S. "Jack" McCain Jr. and Roberta Wright McCain. The son and grandson of four star admirals, he was raised in the navy and in a tradition of military service that began before the American Revolution.

His grandfather, John S. McCain Sr., called "Sid" or "Slew," was the first of the family to attend the United States Naval Academy, and the first to become a naval aviator, earning his wings at the age of fifty. As a passed midshipman, he served in the Philippines on a gunboat skippered by Chester Nimitz, and sailed home to America on the flagship of Teddy Roosevelt's "Great White Fleet." The Senator's colorful great uncle, Brigadier General "Wild Bill" McCain was a West Point graduate, and served under General Pershing in Mexico. Another West Point graduate, General Henry Pinkney McCain, fought in the Battle of Manila, was adjutant general of the Army and established the selective service during World War One. Various McCains served in the armies of the Confederacy during the Civil War, one branch of the family having settled in the mid-19th Century on a plantation in Carrol County, Mississippi. An ancestor served on General Washington's staff, and Washington himself is the Senator's cousin many times removed.

The Senator was the second of Jack and Roberta McCain's three children, arriving after his older sister, Sandy, and before his younger brother, Joe. His early life was nomadic as the family accompanied his father to various duty stations.

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Donate to a Charitable Cause

Senator John McCain's remarkable record of leadership embody his lifetime commitment to service. In celebration of Senator McCain's service to others, please consider learning more about and supporting these two causes which were of critical importance to Senator McCain:

The McCain Institute Foundation
The McCain Institute Foundation is a tax-exempt 501C3 charitable organization founded to support the work of the McCain Institute for International Leadership at Arizona State University. Guided by values that have animated the career of Senator John McCain and the McCain family for generations, the McCain Institute for International Leadership is dedicated to advancing character-driven global leadership based on security, economic opportunity, freedom and human dignity. LEARN MORE AND LEND YOUR SUPPORT.

Translational Genomics Research Institute
When TGen’s founder, Arizona-born Dr. Jeffrey Trent, was the Scientific Director of the National Human Genome Research Institute at the National Institutes of Health, Senator McCain was instrumental in convincing him to return to Arizona and bring new knowledge with him, establishing TGen in an effort to turn breakthroughs in genetic research into medical advances. Today, TGen is poised to take that knowledge and transform brain cancer research in honor of Senator McCain. We invite you to join us in honoring Senator John McCain with the establishment of the John S. McCain III Endowed Chair in Brain Cancer Research. LEARN MORE ABOUT GLIOBLASTOMA AND LEND YOUR SUPPORT.

Statements and Tributes

Statement from The Office of Senator John McCain

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. At his death, he had served the United States of America faithfully for sixty years.


Mourning the Departure of Senator John McCain

I was in the far northern reaches of Canada on a wilderness river when Senator John McCain died. We got to our endpoint—Nahanni Butte—where there was internet connection, and I learned that he passed away a few days earlier. It was not a surprise, obviously. Friends had been keeping me posted about his struggles and diminished strength through the summer. Still, it was a very sad day when I heard the news.


Tributes at the U.S. Naval Academy Honoring Senator John McCain Today

Tributes at the U.S. Naval Academy Honoring Senator John McCain today by General David H. Petraeus and Jack McCain.


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Remembering John McCain

Through a lifetime commitment to service, John McCain touched the lives of people everywhere he traveled. People from every corner of the world have shared their memories and thoughts about Senator McCain and we invite you to read some of the scrolling messages below. Please share your own memories below.

John McCain's courage inspired me to face my own cancer diagnosis.

-- Kathryn, Washington

A great American, I will miss him.

-- Jack, Pennsylvania

Well done good and faithful servant.

-- Marha, New York

Thank you for your service to our Country. God Bless you.

-- David, Virginia

Senator John S. McCain was one of the most inspirational characters of my lifetime. I was an US Army Spec. 4 in Vietnam from 1969 -1970 and witnessed John's return home on the television. I remember being so impressed with his service and the enormous difficulty attached to his captivity. I tell and have told my three children of his incredible courage, service, dedication and honor to this great country. As a politician he represented action, problem solving, respect for colleagues on both sides and an affection for country and respect for its people unrivaled by other members of Congress. He will be sorely missed and our great institutions have lost a great advocate. God Bless John S. McCain and Cindy and his entire family. Please accept the appreciation of a grateful nation.

-- Michael J, New York

Dear Mrs. McCain and family: We would like to express our condolences to you, Honorable John McCain’s Family, for your great loss. Words are inadequate at this time of grief, but we would like you to know that we will always cherish the memories of the Senator as a Combat Hero in Vietnam, enduring six years of harsh imprisonment at the so-called “Hanoi Hilton”. The Senator fought alongside us against the invasion of the Communists to ensure Freedom for the South Vietnamese people. As our Greatest Benefactor, The Senator wrote the McCain Amendment, signed into Law in 2002, which restored derivative refugee status to save thousands of South Vietnamese Prisoners of War and their families from the retribution of the Vietnamese Communists. Senator McCain was a "fighter" and a true "patriot" until the very end; his legacy of service and "love of country" were unparalleled. We send our prayers for "peace" and "healing." Respectfully Yours, Tan Nguyen Republic of Vietnam Veteran

-- Tan, Virginia

Dear Senator John McCain's widow and family, please receive my deepest condolences. As Vietnamese citizens, my wife, Lawyer Nguyen Thi Duong Ha and I am extremely grateful for his great contribution in normalizing and promoting US-Vietnam relations for the mutual benefit of the two countries and for security in South China Sea area. As a human rights prisoner of the Vietnamese government, I greatly appreciated his tireless efforts to improve human rights and promote the rule of law in Vietnam. I personally met and talked with him on Capitol Hill when he attended a campaign for democracy and human rights in Vietnam. The photo taken with him on that occasion would be a precious memory for me. May Senator John McCain rest in eternal peace! Dr Cu Huy Ha Vu

-- VU, Virginia

My Naturalized French-American wife and I attended the first Congressional Dinner in Washington D.C. given for President Bush after his election. Even though John McCain had lost the nomination to President Bush, he was there that night to honor the president. He was standing alone and my wife discovered him and had the most delightful conversation with him about the presidency. He did not try to shorten the visit with her, nor fail to understand every word she spoke with him. He was most gracious and at the end had her pose for a picture with him. This did more for my wife then all the citizenship course on America could ever have done. Thank you John for this. All the angels in heaven will note this when you arrive there!

-- Rob (for Honey), Arizona

I have always admired John McCain’s love of our country and his commitment to service. His courage in dealing with brain cancer was yet one more example of his admirable approach to life. He will be missed by all.

-- Wendy, New Jersey

Some politicians will be remembered as a good Republican or a good Democrat. John McCain will be remembered as a good man.

-- Richard, Indiana

Anyone who went thru as a prisoner as he did deserves the highest honor possible I don't think there could be many of us who could have endured that.

-- Nicholas, Florida

My memory of John McCain is that he always was straight to the point. I am a Democrat and there were things that I did not agree with. But what I loved the most is that he reached across the aisle i know he is watching down on his family and smiling and saying "keep o fighting". You will be greatly missed. Tracyann, New Jersey

-- Tracyann, New Jersey

RIP John McCain . You have truly set the bar, and no more need be said. Peter

-- Peter, New Jersey

Senator McCain never lost his sense of humor, even when things weren't going well. In the summer of 2007, with his presidential campaign flat broke and in shambles, he came to Des Moines to try to stem volunteer defections to other campaigns. I was one of those volunteers. During a quiet moment, I was talking to my nephew Scott on my cell phone and on a whim, asked the Senator if he'd like to speak to an undecided Iowa voter. With a look of glee on his face, McCain said "Give me your phone. What's his name?" I told him, he grabbed my phone and without missing a beat, said "Scott, this is John McCain. Vote for me, or tomorrow morning you're going to find your car up on cement blocks!" What a great and good-natured man. I will miss him.

-- Jim, Iowa

There are very few Politicians that I can honestly say I respect. John McCain was one of them. We lost one of the last good people in our Government, and he will be missed. R.I.P. John McCain.

-- Josh, Kentucky

Our loss is immeasurable on Senator McCain's passing. He will be missed beyond bounds, but he will rightly become part of the best part of the history of America's "experiment." He cared more for the country and people around the world then he did for himself. His courageous contributions to our world are seen in the outpouring of words of sympathy from people from every part of the world. It may sound insufficient, but is meant with utmost sincerity: Thank you, Senator McCain, for your life of service. You are greatly loved.

-- Ray, Illinois

As former residents of Arizona we were always proud that John McCain represented our state. We remember Senator McCain taking time out of his very busy schedule to show his support of support Linkages (an organization promoting the employment of people with disabilities). John McCain was truly a man of action and not just lip-service. May his family find comfort in the expressions of gratitude and admiration so deeply felt by people all over the world.

-- Charles and Julia, Tennessee


-- RICHARD, Massachusetts

Always a hero. Love and prayers to the family.

-- Linda, Missouri

Thank you sir, for your service to our country. We honor and appreciate your sacrifices. Condolences to your Family and Friends.

-- Jean & David, California

Thank you John McCain. You deeply impressed me. My heart is with your family. You truly left an impact and hopefully your legacy will make a difference. You gave us hope in Europe.

-- Sabine, Germany

It was such an honor working on the 2008 campaign. If anyone deserved to be the President of this country, Senator John McCain was the one. Spent his entire life serving this country, what a loss to all Americans.

-- Candace, California

Eternal rest grant unto John McCain o Lord and may Your perpetual light shine upon him. May he rest in peace. May his family feel your comfort o Lord in these coming days

-- Daniel, Illinois

His military sacrifice in the line of duty..

-- Bob, New York

God bless Senator John McCain. God bless America.

-- Tim, New Hampshire

I’m at a loss for words tonight. Both in the midst of war and in the halls of Washington, Senator McCain's dedication to our country never faltered. In this era of talking heads and 24-hour news cycles, John McCain reminded us that we are not defined by our divisions or our disagreements but by our common bond as Americans. We can never replace him but we can honor him by continuing his mission. Thank you, Senator. hashtag#countryfirst

-- Maya, Washington, D.C.

Our country's real hero!

-- Kenneth, Virginia

He was someone who had something that should be taught in every school classroom. Patriotism.

-- Adrienne, Arizona

Sen. McCain was a true American hero, and an incredible American. I am proud to be part of a culture that, with the exception of the moronic, mendacious, slimy ball of fecal matter presently slumming in the WH, was proud to have John McCain as a part of, and a representative of this government; he was a true Man of the People, a warrior, and a man of ideals, who stood up for what he believed in, whatever the odds. Rest in Peace, Sen. McCain.

-- Kurt, California

The truest definition of an American Patriot. Thank you Senator McCain for your service to our great state and nation. May your life be an inspiration to others. God Bless Senator McCain and his family. My deepest condolences, a fellow American.

-- Denise, Arizona

RIP, the whole world is proud of your legacy. As a Syrian i thank you for the support and help you have offered to the Syrian people. My God mercy your sole and may God bless you.

-- Feras, Syria

Just wanted to share my interactions with Senator McCain. When I was 16, I was a page in the US Senate (100th Congress, 2nd session). McCain was still very early in his first term. He was incredibly nice to all the pages. We loved him. He would keep candy in his desk on the senate floor, and have one of the Cloak Room staffers keep it filled with candy for us (and others). We affectionately called him the "Candy Man." Seriously, I loved that guy. One of the nicest senators I interacted with.

-- Chris, Arizona

My deepest sympathies to the McCain family. He was a true gentleman who took his duties as a senator very seriously. I admire his independence and his love of family and country. May he rest in peace

-- Cindy, Minnesota

Senator McCain fought for his constituency, his party and his country. He was a champion of both great ideas and compromise. The Distinguished Gentlemen from Arizona was kind enough to sign a book as a gift for one of the groomsmen at my wedding. I'll not soon forget him or his legacy. Rest in Peace Sir.

-- Aaron, Arizona

I am unknown to John, but he is highly regarded by me and many people in Australia, a fine person who many could emulate if they wanted to be a fine person. You have been and continue to be an inspiring person to me and many others. RIP Sir.

-- Paul, Australia

John McCain represented the best of our country. He served his God, his country and his family in true style. He believed in discussing our differences and reaching a compromise position. The D's and Rs need to follow this philosophy . Unity should be our goal.

-- Linda, New Jersey

I had the distinct privilege to serve as a delegate for John in both the 2000 and 2008 Republican National Convention from Massachusetts. I have such admiration and respect for this man. My great sympathies to his family.

-- Madeleine, Massachusetts

He was loved by all of us that shared his desire for goodness and integrity for all people . His legacy will live forever. God bless all of the McCains .we all meet John someday in Heaven . You were truly blessed family to be his family . Lew

-- Lewis, New York

I never had the honor of meeting Senator McCain, but my daughter will know who he was, when she is older. I hope one day she will see in me, what I saw in John McCain, a man of honor and integrity, who had the courage to stand for his beliefs. Someone who did the right thing, because it was the right thing to do, even when it came at great personal sacrifice. He was one of the few people who I wholeheartedly respect and I am eternally grateful for the courage and commitment he showed throughout his life. Fair winds and following seas!

-- Jason, Hawaii

I never met John McCain, but it looks like he cared a lot about the American People, He spoke up about the what was right and wrong about politics, He voted in the house about which way to go about each bill the way it was planned out, God Bless you RIP John McCain, our condolences goes out to the family, Thank you for your service.

-- Melanie, Arizona

John McCain and his family are in my prayers

-- Rebecca, Louisiana

Mi mas sincera condolencia a la familia y a todos sus seres queridos, se ha perdido una grande persona y un ser humano extraordinario para la historia de EEUU . estara en mi memoria y en la de todos los americanos. un ciudadano español. gracias por poder expresar mis sentimientos.

-- jose javier, Spain

I can't think of any person who has given more to our country than Senator McCain. Even in his death, he is showing us how to bring people together. God bless the McCain family.

-- Patty, Massachusetts

Our family was supportive of Senator McCain for president. We were blessed to meet him in Howell, MI. During his run for Presidency. He shook hands and hugged my father a WW11 vet. My father passed in January 2016. Senator McCain thank you for your service and your love of America!?? God Bless.

-- NANCY, Michigan

John McCain was a mentor to all of us. I extend my deepest sympathy to his Family.

-- Deena, Massachusetts

Thank you for your great service to our Country! Rest In Peace and God Bless You!

-- Michael, Pennsylvania

I met John and Cindy in Santa Clara, California in 2000. As a retired naval aviator myself, I have a deep respect for John's leadership and patriotism.

-- Stan, Washington

Rest in Peace, Warrior!

-- William, Indiana

Please accept my most sincere condolences. Senator John McCain was a true hero and statesmen, his leadership will be a great loss to our county

-- Pamela, Florida

From one sailor to another. Fair winds and calm seas. I may not have always agreed with you but I have always respected you.

-- MARK, Arizona

Thank You

We are truly grateful for the outpouring of support and comfort our family has received during this time of great loss. Your letters and messages remind us of the incredible impact John's life has had on so many people from Arizona, across the country, and around the world. John lived every day with vigor, vitality, and an insatiable desire to serve the country he deeply loved. While we've lost a central part of our family and an irreplaceable American leader, we can all honor John's life by continuing his legacy of service and leaving this world a better place for generations to come.

-- The McCain Family

If so inclined, flowers may be sent to your local VA Hospital. Thank you.