Republican U.S. Sen. John McCain has chosen to discontinue medical treatment for an aggressive form of brain cancer, his family said in a statement on Friday, a year after the Vietnam War hero announced his prognosis.
"John has surpassed expectations for his survival," the family said, adding that the disease's progression and McCain's age, 81, had led him to stop treatment for the "aggressive glioblastoma."
"With his usual strength of will, he has now chosen to discontinue medical treatment," the family said.
McCain, who represented Arizona in the Senate and House of Representatives for 35 years, had said the cancer was discovered in July 2017 and he has not been at the U.S. Capitol this year. He also had surgery for an intestinal infection in April.
McCain has had a reputation for speaking his mind, which led to a running feud with U.S. President Donald Trump that grew heated in 2015 when McCain said Trump's candidacy had "fired up the crazies."
Trump retorted that the senator was "not a war hero" and cited McCain's 5½ years as a prisoner of the North Vietnamese by saying: "I like people who weren't captured."
Reaction from family, colleagues
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Twitter that he was "very sad to hear this morning's update" from McCain's family.
McCain's wife, Cindy, tweeted: "I love my husband with all of my heart. God bless everyone who has cared for my husband along this journey."
McCain underwent surgery in July 2017 to remove a blood clot in his brain after being diagnosed with an aggressive tumour called a glioblastoma. It's the same type of tumour that killed Sen. Edward M. Kennedy at age 77 in 2009.
McCain rebounded quickly, however, returning to Washington and entering the Senate in late July to a standing ovation from his colleagues. In a dramatic turn, he later cast a deciding vote against the Republican health care bill, earning the wrath of Trump, who frequently cites McCain's vote at campaign events.
McCain's condition worsened last fall, and he has been in Arizona since December.
With files from The Associated Press