Sen. John McCain’s family said Friday that he is discontinuing medical treatment for his cancer, saying the disease has progressed too far to be worth fighting.
Mr. McCain, 81, has been battling an aggressive brain cancer at his home in Arizona and hasn’t been in attendance in the Senate this year, attempting a recovery.
His family issued a statement though his Senate office saying he’s already “surpassed expectations” for survival, given the disease, but “the progress of disease and the inexorable advance of age render their verdict.”
“With his usual strength of will, he has now chosen to discontinue medical treatment,” the statement said. “Our family is immensely grateful for the support and kindness of all his caregivers over the last year, and for the continuing outpouring of concern and affection from John’s many friends and associates, and the many thousands of people who are keeping him in their prayers.”
Mr. McCain has been at his ranch near Sedona, where he’s been receiving well-wishers from among the country’s political elite, while battling his disease.
His family’s announcement Friday drew praise for the former Navy pilot who spent years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, and who after his return stateside built a remarkable political career.
“John McCain is an American hero, always putting country before self,” said Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey. “From Vietnam to the halls of the U.S. Senate, the spirit of service and civility that has guided Senator McCain’s life stands as a model for all Americans, regardless of political affiliation.”
Mr. McCain has been a stunning political survivor, having overcome scandals and losses — including his 2000 bid for the GOP’s presidential nomination and his 2008 loss to President Obama in the general election — to become one of the most consequential legislators of his generation.
He’s been at the forefront of debates over immigration, war on terror and detainee treatment policies, campaign finance and taxes and spending.
He also has survived previous bouts with skin cancer, returning to Capitol Hill each time to deliver self-deprecating jokes about it.
Last year he was diagnosed with what the family calls “an aggressive glioblastoma,” which is a form of cancer that affects the brain or spinal cord.
After shuttling to and from treatment, in December he announced he would be treated at home in Arizona, and has not returned for a vote in the chamber since.