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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.


-- joeann, Kentucky

Senator John McCain and his respect for the process always stood out to me. Although, I supported Barack Obama in 2008, He has always shown an excellent display of good characteristics and always stood for what he believed in regardless of being politically correct. His dedication to public service and to country is what I will always remember about him. The people of Arizona were lucky to have him as a Senator, I will miss him, I intend on reading his book and watching his past interviews. Senator McCain, I again, thank you for your service.

-- Nicholas, New Jersey

Much loved, much respected, very much missed - God speed Senator McCain

-- Loretta, Pennsylvania

I am a democrat in Tucson, AZ. I have great respect for this man. He worked across the aisle for the good of ALL Americans and the whole world. There will never be anyone like him. I bet Aretha Franklin is ushering him into heaven with her songs!!! Well done, good and faithful servant!

-- Kathleen, Arizona

His military sacrifice in the line of duty..

-- Bob, New York

God blessed us by sharing this Great Honorable man with us We are so much better for it .Deepest condolences to his family .His memory will Iive on.

-- Wayne, New York

RIP, Senator McCain. Eternal rest grant unto him, Oh Lord. My deepest condolences to his family and friends. May you find peace in the memories you share.

-- Diane, Florida

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

A man of principle, honesty and courage. I fear for our country without him in it.

-- Mary, New York

The last American hero. Honest, Brave, and Caring. He returned with Honor, and left with Honor.

-- Gregory, Michigan

Senator McCain was not only a great Senator, but most importantly displayed great characteristics and great dignity. He was always known for doing things the right way, regardless of if you agree or disagree with him. I will never forget the moment he stood up for then Candidate Barack Obama on several occasions, He was not bitter when he lost in 2008 and showed and displayed grace. He will be missed. Thank you sir for your service to the United States for the last 60 years,

-- Nicholas, New Jersey

I met him on his ranch some time back. I did some work on the ranch. He gave me a big hug. He knows me as cowboy. Very nice man. He is one hell of a man. We talked for a while. But every time, I talked to him. He was very nice. I love the man. I will miss him. God bless you John. You are in the Lord's hands now. And I know you are looking down and watching all of us and everything going on. We love you. God bless John McCain. Best man I have ever known.

-- James, Arizona

Not just a geat American, but a grand human being.

-- Shelly, Texas

Thank you, senator, for a life full of courage, integrity, and honor. You made me proud to be an American. My deepest sympathies to Mrs. McCain and the entire McCain family.

-- Brian, Pennsylvania

Senator John McCain was a compassionate man and took a stand against torture. I am thankful for all he had done for the world.

-- John, South Dakota

John McCain was the Executive Officer of VA174 when I was in A-7E RAG training at Cecil Field in the mid 1970s. He personally taught me low-level tactics, and weapons training at MCAS Yuma AZ. What a GREAT instructor, and motivator! And John had one of the most infectious senses of humor of anyone I have ever known. What an inspiration of a man!!

-- Richard, Idaho

The year Regan & Bush ran on the Republican ticket, there was a rally in downtown Phoenix. I attended with my mother and sister. It was there that Senator McCain was shaking hands in the crowd. My hand was one of the hands he shook. I grew up in Phoenix and am now 59. So this is a long-time memory for me. I respect and appreciate the work that Senator McCain did for our country and his service in the military to fight for my freedom. My hope is there will be many people to come who will have the ability to fight for the rights of all Americans and be able to work across the “aisle “ with each other for the unified goal of making laws that support, protect and grow the country for us and our children. May his memory be a blessing.

-- Joanne, Arizona

I met John in April 1964 in Pensacola FL where I was taking an orientation tour of Navy aviation. It was a top gun experience! I admired John while I served in the Navy during the Vietnam War and supported him in his congressional and presidential efforts thereafter. He was a man who continued to learn and contribute to his country right to the end. He will be missed. May God bless his family.

-- Charles, South Carolina

Senator McCain will always be remembered by us as an American Hero and a man who served the American people his whole life. Thank you John McCain.

-- Mr. & Mrs. George, Arizona

I found the Senator inspiring, volunteered for the Reform Institute, and supported all his campaigns. We've lost our best, but I'll do mine to raise children who'll work towards McCain's vision of America.

-- Doug, California

Thank you senator John McCain you are the greatest..# highly respected #Loved forever #RIP

-- Kimberly, Louisiana

I was lucky enough to meet him briefly on a political science field-trip to Washington D.C. He was friendly and not what I would have pictured as a political figure which seemed at odd with the busy political culture and life in the capitol. It was great to see someone so down-to-earth and not too busy to say hello and greet some college students from Bellevue, Washington.

-- Barbara, Washington

John McCain met my dad, sister, and niece on the Campaign trail. My dad had cancer. He invited them on his bus. My dad brought along a photo album of me and my tour in Iraq where I was serving. He took the time to look at every picture and told my dad the places he visited (he had come to Iraq to visit us troops). His visit with my dad was one of the best moments in my dad's life. I wrote John McCain from Iraq thanking him for visiting the troops. My dad gave him my letter and he wrote me back personally. I will cherish his letter and the impact he had on my family. Thank you for your service Mr. McCain. I salute you. God Bless you and your family.

-- Gale, Florida

Admiration for a life well lived, by a refugee from Vietnam, still in-exile after 43 years.

-- TRINH, Maryland

Thank you for all your service,I 'm sure this world will never see someone as remarkable as yourself. R.I.P

-- Jane, Arizona

I decided to become a naturalized U.S. citizen because of the values that my American hero Senator John McCain embodied. The first time I was allowed to vote in the presidential election, I proudly voted fir him. May his memory be a blessing.

-- Lisbeth, Oregon

Thank you for your service John.

-- j, Minnesota

True hero. Our country has lost a true statesman. RIP. GOD BLESS

-- AlRose, Georgia

A man of class who always always always took the high road.

-- Paula, Washington

I remember Sen. McCain at Wright State University introducing Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate. It was a fun and optimistic time. I will always remember his patriotism.

-- Mary S, Ohio

My heartfelt sympathy to Cindy McCain, the McCain children and the rest of the McCain family for your loss. Senator McCain was a patriot and served our country well. Thank you for sharing him with us. My thoughts and prayers are with you as you grieve.

-- Kathleen, Michigan

I had an unexpected moment at Reagan Airport when Senator McCain stood about 15 feet away from me. We were both on the curb waiting for our respective rides. I was trying not to stare but also hoping to confirm to myself whether he was truly the Senator or not. I had determined he was the real deal, so while loading my suitcase, I felt compelled to shout, "Thank you Senator! We are so grateful for your service!" He turned towards me with a smile and a wave. As we left, I felt a bit emotional at having been able to express sincere appreciation in a fleeting moment of opportunity. I am so glad he heard me. If more of us could have the heart, mind, courage and determination of John McCain, much would be improved in our society. Our love, gratitude and sympathy to all of you.

-- Christine, Utah

Dear McCain Family... I wrote both my Colorado Senators today because the passing of John McCain has left big shoes to fill. He did the job of three people! He wasn’t a political lemming... he was a true leader. A real statesman. His courage, strength, and honor are what all our politicians should emulate. While his party affiliation was important, his conscience and doing what was right was always more important. All our politicians should should heed that mantra. And learn how to work across the aisle instead of fighting like grade school kids in the sandbox. Senator McCain is the best example to the world of what it means to be an American, to live in a free democracy, and to be a true “son of Liberty”.

-- Diane, Colorado

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

I have admired John McCain for years I remember when he was a POW and how courageous he was during this time. Our country needs more people like with who serve our country. His honesty and fairness needs to be more prevalent. May he Rest In Peace and be remember for the hero he was to our country.

-- Elaine, Pennsylvania

God Blessed this nation with the gift of John McCain. He will be missed. Lets carry on with his honor.

-- Connie, Ohio

Rest In Peace Senator McCain. You inspired every person to reach higher and to be the best version of themselves, as you were, in service to your country and to mankind. Thank you for your service.

-- Sonia Garcia, Virginia

Clearly the loss of a fine and decent man ; our sympathy to his family , to his state and his great country. A hero indeed !

-- Al and Angela, Canada

Thank you for your years of dedication to the United States, your commitment to uphold the Constitution and contributions for human rights. You will be missed. God Speed Senator.

-- Tedi, Texas

Thank you Senator.

-- Joe, Pennsylvania

Thank you for your enduring service to our country. I voted for you in the 2008 Presidential election.

-- Marcie, Illinois

John McCain Was a great man. His family can rest also because he is resting in piece. now. Again John was a great man. Thanks for every thing.

-- Raymond, Rhode Island

Senator McCain was the only presidential candidate I ever campaigned for and one of two campaigns that I contributed to. Our country would have been so blessed to have him as our president.

-- Richard, New Hampshire

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

-- Deena, Massachusetts

Our hearts go to the McCain family and our country for his lost!

-- Maria, Florida

I have just would love to think and remember John McCain for the great and wonderful things of his earth life. For one for his Navy service and serving this great republic. His pain and suffering for this country will be remembered. He also served this county in the Senate even though he could have retired long ago he continued to serve the USA through pain, illness, hardships, and old age. I will keep John McCain and his family in my thoughts and prayers. God bless the former senator and his family!

-- Daniel, Missouri

I remember John coming thru Tiffin, Ohio while running for President!! I alway thought what a great guy to come to such a small town!! RIH!!!

-- Brad, Ohio

I served in the Navy at the same time as John McCain I just wanted to send my regards regards for a life well lived God bless his legacy

-- Woodrow, Arizona

Above and beyond his illustrious life and career, he was a prince of a guy. We loved him!

-- Cynthia, New York

My entire job experience has been in one way or another working for Senator John McCain. His presidential staff hired me two days out of college, and I have been a proud member of Team McCain ever since. John McCain taught me the importance of hard work, the fact that sometimes setbacks are actually doors opening elsewhere, and the true meaning of being an American….(and that campaigns build character and are the best place to find friends and teammates.) I will miss Senator McCain so much, but I know his legacy lives on in all of us that knew him and those who will read his books, study his legacy and strive to make our nation safer and stronger.

-- Whitney, Virginia

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.