US Senator John McCain, a former Republican presidential nominee, has been diagnosed with brain cancer, a statement from the hospital treating him in Arizona said Wednesday.
A cancerous tumour was discovered after the removal of a blood clot from above the 80-year-old’s left eye on Friday, according to the Mayo Clinic Hospital in Phoenix.
McCain was recovering from that surgery “amazingly well,” his doctors said, adding that he and his family were reviewing further treatment options that could include “a combination of chemotherapy and radiation.”
The Arizona senator, a former prisoner of war who was first elected to Congress in 1982 and to the Senate four years later, has been one of his party’s most vocal critics of President Donald Trump. He ran for president twice: in 2000 and then 2008 when he was the Republican nominee and ultimately lost to Barack Obama. His former rival tweeted a message of support to McCain shortly after the diagnosis was announced.
“John McCain is an American hero and one of the bravest fighters I’ve ever known,” Obama wrote on Twitter. “Cancer doesn’t know what it’s up against. Give it hell, John.”
Former president Bill Clinton also wished him a “swift recovery,” tweeting, “As he’s shown his entire life, don’t bet against John McCain.” Trump sent him a get-well-soon message, sending him his “thoughts and prayers.” During his presidential campaign, Trump drew widespread condemnation when he attacked McCain by saying, “He’s not a war hero.
“He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.”
McCain famously spent five and a half years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam after being shot down in 1967, breaking both arms and a leg. He was tortured and kept partly in solitary confinement, but he refused offers of early release, saying others should be released first. The experience left him with permanent disabilities – he cannot raise his arms above his head.
McCain was also operated on for skin cancer in 2000. His wife Cindy McCain posted a picture of the couple on their wedding day on Instagram on Thursday, thanking well-wishers and calling him her “hero.”
“It won’t surprise you to learn that in all this, the one of us who is most confident and calm is my father,” his daughter Meghan McCain added on Twitter.
“So he is meeting this challenge as he has every other,” she said. “Cancer may afflict him in many ways: but it will not make him surrender. Nothing ever has.”