John McCain will stop brain cancer treatment, family says

Washington: US Senator John McCain, from Arizona, will no longer be treated for brain cancer, his family announced on Saturday, a sign that the Republican war hero is most likely entering his final days.


"Last summer, Senator John McCain shared with Americans the news our family already knew: He had been diagnosed with an aggressive glioblastoma, and the prognosis was serious. In the year since, John has surpassed expectations for his survival. But the progress of disease and the inexorable advance of age render their verdict," the family said in a statement.

"With his usual strength of will, he has now chosen to discontinue medical treatment."

Senator John McCain has been battling brain cancer for a year,

Senator John McCain has been battling brain cancer for a year,

McCain had been undergoing treatment since July 2017, and has been absent from Washington since December. McCain's family has gathered in Arizona, and people close to him say his death is imminent.

From his ranch in Arizona, McCain had managed to maintain a voice in key foreign policy and military policy debates, sharply criticising President Donald Trump after his summit with President Vladimir Putin of Russia, an old adversary of McCain.

At home, he has welcomed close friends to renew ties. But after decades as a fixture in Washington and a larger-than-life character, he had largely retreated from the public eye.

Throughout his extraordinary life, McCain has encountered unimaginable adversity.

The son and grandson of four-star Navy admirals, he was almost killed in the 1967 USS Forrestal fire during the Vietnam War. He escaped from his burning jet and was trying to help another pilot escape when a bomb exploded, hitting him in the legs and chest.

Months later, while on a bombing mission over Hanoi, he was shot down and fractured both arms and a leg when he ejected from his aircraft. He landed in a lake and nearly drowned, managing to reach the surface where he was met by Vietnamese enemies.

He spent more than five years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam and was tortured regularly, leaving him with lifelong physical disabilities. He is unable to lift his arms above shoulder height.

He retired from the Navy in 1981 and was elected to the United States House of Representatives in 1982.

McCain rose to become one of the towering figures in US politics, twice seeking the presidency and winning the 2008 Republican nomination for president.

While generally considered a conservative, McCain earned a reputation as a maverick who disagreed with his party on certain issues.

In the Senate, he has been frequently criticised by many, including President Donald Trump, for his willingness to buck his party on issues like campaign finance reform and, last summer, the repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

Trump once criticised his war service and subsequent imprisonment in Vietnam, saying he preferred people "who don't get caught".

Fairfax Media, New York Times

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