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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.

A Great Great Man. He will be miss by all

-- Ron, Washington

This country has lost a guiding light. I’m saddened for his loss and my prayers are with the family. I know that he is looking down on heaven watching over us. My wish is his passing will inspire others in Congress to take up his cause.

-- Al, Pennsylvania

My memory of John McCain will always be the class and dignity with which he conducted himself during and after the 2008 Presidential Campaign. There is no greater example of his extraordinary character.

-- Michael, Massachusetts

John McCain, John McCain Hero, idol, eternal swain You lived an active life, nobly You will be missed by all, greatly.

-- mumtaz, Bangladesh

RIP Senator McCain. May God be with his family and many friends and colleagues during this difficult time.

-- Roxanne, Michigan

The world has lost a great statesman who was respected by people all over the globe. I never met him personally but nevertheless felt inspired by his strong and clear vision about the role of the United States in the global political system.

-- Mike, Germany

My heart and prayers are with the McCain family. I am so "thankful" for his service to our country and his family. May God bless and comfort you all. What a great man and leader.

-- jan, Arizona

I remember him as being a truly honorable man whom loved and worked hard at serving and protecting his country. We need more such MEN. My condolences to his family and all whom cared for him.

-- Martha, Washington

Stay in hell forever! I hope you will see many children from vietnam war bastard! Murder is in hell

-- Czech, Czechia

My prayers go to john McCain Family he will be remember

-- Anthony, Pennsylvania

Thank You so Very Much. Bryan Brinegar

-- Bryan, California


-- TOBY, Alabama

I passed Mr. McCain in a terminal at Reagan National in fall of 2008 before the election. I said “Good Luck!” and he acknowledged with a nod and thumbs up. We appreciate his service. I’m sorry for your loss.

-- Victor, North Carolina

From on Veteran to another Veteran, My deep condolences to the McCain’s family. My respect and salute to a Veteran.

-- Kevin, Virginia

Our deepest sympathies to your family in this time of loss! We thank you for the sacrifice you all made as he served our nation diligently in war and in peace! Blessings!!!

-- Barb, Iowa

As a younger man, I attended the Republican National Convention where John McCain told the story of his comrade in captivity making the American flag. “A little scrap of red. A little scrap of blue.” I cannot retell that story today to my sons without crying. Thanks be to God for the life and service of John McCain.

-- Fred, South Carolina

My deepest condolences. Thank you for being a great senator. I’m a democratic and I have the highest respect for you.

-- Maria, California

I didn't know him. Sent some emails. I supported his presidential run. Truly sad to hear this recent news.

-- Fatbardh, New Jersey

As I sit and listen to the life of Senator John McCain, I knew about his time as captured solider, his friendship with Senator Edward Kennedy. So much can be said about his work as Senator to our nation.I respected him because he put country before party. He ran for President twice and both the men that he ran against both President's Bush and Obama will speak at his funeral service. So to honor his life we all should try to bring back kindness in our lives. To speak the truth, own to our errors and poor judgement. Stop with calling the truth lies, to stop name calling,to respect the press. Not saying this is fake etc. Will everything be perfect in our country no. But take this time to reflect on TRUE patriots of America. That was Senator John McCain. My prayers to his family and Friends

-- tracey, Pennsylvania

He was an amazing man and a true American...God Bless Him and his Family

-- MaryEllen and Frank, Florida

But we are sad. We need him more than ever.

-- Nora, Massachusetts

Thank you for your service to America. RIP Senator McCain

-- Joseph, Alabama

John McCain was a diamond in the dust of Washington, D.C. He was a precious gem. Our sympathies to the family of an extraordinary man. Rest in peace, John. Chad and Barbara Zitta

-- Barbara, Pennsylvania

I've got very much respect for John McCain. Have peace.

-- Ruurd, Netherlands

Sen. McCain was at our store Morse Sporting Goods in Hillsboro. NH and gave a speech during his campaign. We have a nice picture of him on display at our store.

-- Walter, New Hampshire

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

Thank you John McCain! Blessings to your family!

-- Larry, Arizona

Dear Family: With all his many impressive accomplishments I always looked at him with pride . I was pleased to have been a classmate in USNA-58 with him for a while. He was a great man. The country will miss him.

-- Rich, Wisconsin

Here is what I said to the US Senate Armed Services Committee at my confirmation hearing last November. "Senator McCain and other members of the SASC, it is an honor to be here. It is humbling to be considered for this position and I thank Secretary Mattis and the President for placing their trust and confidence in me. Senator McCain- as a young Air Force officer going through Aerospace Medicine Primary and SERE training in the early 1980’s, one of your fellow POW’s who spoke to our class mentioned your name as an exemplar of courage and integrity and I have always looked up to you." I meant every word. After I read this, Sen. McCain quietly said, "Thank you..."

-- Dean, California

What a great man! The definition of integrity is John McCain. For my trip to Vietnam, he gave me note signed by him to keep me safe. A true American hero, he is what our country always needed and always will. He will be missed! John, please guide us from above.

-- Pierre, Arizona

My heart and prayers go out to McClain family we love you stay strong and remember what he stands for unity and love he will always be our hero

-- Shirley, South Carolina

Thank you for your service John McCain. Heart breaking, so sad!

-- John, California

John McCain, we need you more than ever now. If only others could exemplify your courage, honesty, wisdom, grace and vigor. Perhaps now, some will realize your contributions to this country, and how very important it is to put country over party. Thank you, Senator McCain. You will not be forgotten.

-- Sharon, California

Heartfelt sympathies to the entire McCain family. A true Maverick willing to help others even those he never met. Thank you for your service, celebration and humility.

-- Kathleen, Florida

We voted for John McCain in 2008 for President and are saddened by his passing. I lost an aunt to glioblastoma this past December. She only lived a few months after her diagnoses. Prayers for the McCain family during this difficult time.

-- Gail, Alabama

Senator John McCain admirably employed his abilities improving the state of Arizona and his country USA.

-- Mildred, New York

Death can never take a good man away, for in the hearts of the people he inspired, his legacy remains and continues throughout generations. Sen. John S. McCain will never be forgotten. May his soul rest in peace. Please accept my humble condolences.

-- Jean Marc, Belgium

One of America’s true heroe’s . He will be truly missed by everyone. May God bless his family & give them comfort with beautiful memories.

-- Pam, Florida

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

-- Richard, Indiana

A great American Citizen

-- Wulf, Germany

thank you for your service to our country both in the military and senate! my sympathy to the McCain family

-- Arlene, Mississippi

Rest In Peace Senator McCain. Thank you for your service to our country. Very pleased to learn about the TGen Project That you brought to Arizona. I know many people will benefit from that.

-- Janie, Arizona

I did not know John McCain personally, but loved his sense of honor and integrity. My father was a Marine and taught me to always be honorable and stand up for what I believed in. I lost him at 81 years old and was very close to him. Married to Vietnam veteran also. This brave man will be missed and I know my Dad would have written too. God Bless him and Mrs. McCain and family Ruthie

-- Ruthie, New Jersey

Senator John McCain was a true American Hero. His Service in Vietnam and in the Senate can be compared to none. He inspired hope and fought for what is right in so many ways. Senator McCain will be truly missed so very much. Much love & sympathy to his family in the loss of this great man.

-- Molly, Texas

Thank you Senator McCain for raising the bar and being a great leader to us. You will be missed dearly.

-- Raymond, Arizona

I only met Senator McCain once in my life when he was running for president in 2008 I found him to be a very generous person and very smart you will be missed by everyone. My sympathies go out to his family and to his friends who knew him the most . For to me he was a true American hero and we can't say that about everyone they are few and far between May you rest in peace

-- William L, Pennsylvania

Many of our nations problems would be solved if everyone in Washington had the integrity of Senator John McCain. - Not a Republican.

-- Brad, Maine

Thanks Sir John McCain, YOU ARE the Great, YOU ARE an Hero, YOU ARE never die, YOU stay in the sun. R.I.P

-- Hong, Arizona

Couple years ago I was at the Phoenix airport with my young son and son in law. I was sending off my son in law to another tour in Afghanistan as a highly decorated Special Forces soldier. Senator McCain came over to us and thanked my son in law for his service. They chatted privately for a few minutes and took pictures together. Amazing man. A real friend!

-- Lee, Arizona

John was a great Hero to me. He would have been a great President! I will Forever remember his stewardship, grit, strength and courage! My life is so much stronger because of his Memories! Amen John you served America and the World well! God Speed! Sincerely Michael Charles Jensen of Long Beach CA

-- Mike, California

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.