The sports world reacts to Senator John McCain's death

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He was 81 and had been battling brain cancer. His office confirmed his death in a statement.

"Our family is immensely grateful for the support and kindness of all his caregivers over the a year ago, 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", the family's statement concluded. Fact is. he had surpassed expectations for survival. "I'm going to continue to serve as governor as long as the voters will let me", he said.

"The days and years to come will not be the same without my dad - but they will be good days, filled with life and love, because of the example he lived for us".

"I understand the discipline and the things that go along about being a service person and protecting our freedoms", Edwards said.

McCain returned to Vietnam a number of times, and has even visited the Hanoi Hilton.

Born in the Panama Canal Zone on August 29, 1936, McCain went on to follow in the footsteps of his Naval officer father and joined the Navy.

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) speaks after being awarded the 2017 Liberty Medal by former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden (unseen) at the Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S., October 16, 2017. Biden's son Beau died in 2015 after fighting glioblastoma.

Known as a "maverick" by some, the senator was often at odds with his own party. The dramatic move shocked his fellow Republicans, who thought repeal was a done deal.

McCain collaborated with a long-time adviser, Mark Salter, on a memoir, "The Restless Wave", that was released in May.

"Before I leave, I'd like to see our politics begin to return to the purposes and practices that distinguish our history from the history of other nations". We have become so accustomed to watching battered, beaten men carried out of the ring that we sometimes forget the simplest rule in boxing: You can stop the fight whenever you want. A titan in U.S. politics, he was respected as a war hero.

President Trump, who has frequently criticized and even mocked the ailing senator, had kind words Saturday. The world will miss John McCain.

He could also be volcanic, especially about causes dear to him: the armed forces, American exceptionalism and, in his later years, the threat posed by Russia's Vladimir Putin, whom he branded "a murderer and a thug".

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In his first run for president in 2000, he capitalised on an anti-establishment sentiment and longing for authenticity that would later come to crest with Donald Trump's election.

He was responsible for introducing then-Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin to a national audience by tapping her as his running mate.

He ran for the Republican nomination but lost to George W. Bush.

When Trump announced his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination in June 2015, suggesting that many Mexican immigrants were criminals and "rapists", McCain denounced him for using language that "fired up the crazies".

What happens to John McCain's Senate seat?

McCain entered the Naval Academy in 1954, soon after graduating from a prep school in Alexandria, VA.

On the day of his 23rd mission over Vietnam, his A-4 Skyhawk was hit as he flew across Hanoi's skies. McCain was shot down by a Surface-to-Air Missile and had broken both arms and his right knee upon ejection, losing consciousness until he hit the water. After landing in the lake, North Vietnamese beat him and took him to a prison.

During a 1967 bombing run over Hanoi, McCain's plane was shot down, almost killing him.

The future Republican presidential candidate spent more than five years there, enduring torture but refusing an expedited release on account of his background. He was refused medical treatment and beaten with a bayonet. He was soon placed in solitary confinement, where he would remain for the next two years. He limped off the plane that returned him to the US gripping a handrail and with hair that had turned white, according to a New York Times report from 1973 on his release.

He suffered, as the nation suffered, from the morass of Vietnam.

When Udall was struck down with Parkinson's disease, relegated to a hospital bed in Washington, it was McCain who visited him every few weeks. He served in the Navy from 1958 until 1981, ending his career as a decorated captain with awards such as the Silver Star, Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross and Purple Heart. He was elected to Congress in 1982 and the Senate in 1986.