(CNN) — Sen. John McCain, who was diagnosed with brain cancer last year, has made the decision to discontinue medical treatment, his family said in a statement on Friday.
Although McCain’s colleagues had braced for the worst following his cancer prognosis a year ago, Friday’s announcement left them shaken. It effectively closes a tumultuous Washington career that included two unsuccessful presidential runs and saw McCain emerge as a singular political figure, an icon of the Senate and latterly as a vehement critic of President Donald Trump.
“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. With his usual strength of will, he has now chosen to discontinue medical treatment,” the family of the Arizona Republican said in a statement.
The statement from McCain’s family went on to say, “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. God bless and thank you all.”
Cindy McCain, the senator’s wife, wrote in a tweet, “I love my husband with all of my heart. God bless everyone who has cared for my husband along this journey.” The senator’s daughter, Meghan McCain, said in a tweet, “My family is deeply appreciative of all the love and generosity you have shown us during this past year. Thank you for all your continued support and prayers. We could not have made it this far without you – you’ve given us strength to carry on.”
Congressional leaders immediately reacted to the statement. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called the news “very sad,” while House Speaker Paul Ryan tweeted that “The whole House is keeping John and his family in our prayers during this time.” Democratic Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer tweeted his “thoughts and prayers are with Senator McCain and his family.”
Speaking to CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union” last September, shortly after he went public with his prognosis, McCain struck an optimistic chord, saying he was “very happy” with his life and what he has “been able to do.”
“I am able to celebrate a wonderful life and I will be grateful for additional time that I have,” the senator said at the time.