John Sidney McCain III (August 29, 1936 – August 25, 2018) was an American politician and military officer who served as a United States Senator from Arizona from January 1987 until his death. He previously served two terms in the United States House of Representatives and was the Republican nominee for President of the United States in the 2008 election, which he lost to Barack Obama.
McCain graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1958 and was commissioned into the United States Navy. He became a naval aviator and flew ground-attack aircraft from aircraft carriers. During the Vietnam War, he was almost killed in the 1967 USS Forrestal fire. While on a bombing mission during Operation Rolling Thunder over Hanoi in October 1967, he was shot down, seriously injured, and captured by the North Vietnamese. He was a prisoner of war until 1973. He experienced episodes of torture and refused an out-of-sequence early release. The wounds that he sustained during the war left him with lifelong physical disabilities. He retired from the Navy as a captain in 1981 and moved to Arizona, where he entered politics. In 1982, he was elected to the United States House of Representatives, where he served two terms. He entered the U.S. Senate in 1987 and easily won reelection five times, the final time in 2016.
While generally adhering to conservative principles, McCain also had a media reputation as a "maverick" for his willingness to break from his party on certain issues. His stances on gun control and LGBT issues were significantly more liberal than the party's base. After being investigated and largely exonerated in a political influence scandal of the 1980s as one of the Keating Five, he made campaign finance reform one of his signature concerns, which eventually resulted in passage of the McCain–Feingold Act in 2002. He was also known for his work in the 1990s to restore diplomatic relations with Vietnam, and for his belief that the Iraq War should have been fought to a successful conclusion. He chaired the Senate Commerce Committee and opposed pork barrel spending. He belonged to the bipartisan "Gang of 14" which played a key role in alleviating a crisis over judicial nominations.
McCain entered the race for the Republican nomination for president in 2000, but lost a heated primary season contest to Governor George W. Bush of Texas. He secured the nomination in 2008 after making a comeback from early reversals, but lost the general election. He subsequently adopted more orthodox conservative stances and attitudes and largely opposed actions of the Obama administration, especially with regard to foreign policy matters. By 2013, he had become a key figure in the Senate for negotiating deals on certain issues in an otherwise partisan environment. In 2015, he became Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee. He refused to support then-Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump in 2016. He opposed the Affordable Care Act, but cast the deciding vote against the ACA-repealing American Health Care Act of 2017 bill. After a diagnosis of brain cancer in 2017, he reduced his role in the Senate to focus on treatment, before dying on August 25, 2018, four days before his 82nd birthday; his family had announced the previous day that the treatment for his cancer would cease. Following McCain's death, he lay in state in the United States Capitol rotunda, and his funeral was televised from Washington National Cathedral.
He is also known as John Sidney McCain III.
McCain's family announced on August 24, 2018, that he would no longer receive treatment for his cancer. He died the next day at 4:28 p.m. MST (11:28 p.m. UTC), with his wife and family beside him, at his home in Cornville, Arizona. He was 81 years old.