Lema Nowicki, Cornville resident and owner of Casey’s Corner Farm Market and Provisions, reflects on McCain the man and his legacy, Aug. 25, 2018.
Tom Tingle/azcentral.com, Arizona Republic
U.S. Sen. John McCain died Saturday at the age of 81 following a 13-month battle with a deadly form of brain cancer.
His death, announced by his office, came the day after his family announced he was ending medical treatment on Friday.
He would have turned 82 next week.
6:50 p.m.: Procession accompanying Sen. McCain’s body leaves house
Sen. John McCain’s body is on the way to Phoenix accompanied by a motorcade of Arizona Department of Public Safety vehicles.
At 6:08 p.m. a motorcade was seen entering the property.
About 6:50 p.m., a DPS trooper’s vehicle, lights illuminated, began leading the motorcade down the dirt road, starting the approximately 100-mile journey to Phoenix.
A handmade sign on the fence leading to the residence read simply: “Sen. McCain thank you for your service.” A small, American flag, affixed to a wire fence waved in the evening breeze.
6:30 p.m.: President George W. Bush describes McCain as friend he’ll “deeply miss”
President George W. Bush posted an undated photo of himself and McCain chatting privately amidst a mass of reporters in the Oval Office.
“Some lives are so vivid, it is difficult to imagine them ended,” he said in a statement. “Some voices are so vibrant, it is hard to think of them stilled. John McCain was a man of deep conviction and a patriot of the highest order. He was a public servant in the finest traditions of our country. And to me, he was a friend whom I’ll deeply miss. Laura and I send our heartfelt sympathies to Cindy and the entire McCain family, and our thanks to God for the life of John McCain.”
Sen. Jeff Flake: “I have lost a wonderful friend”
Sen. Jeff Flake took to twitter to commemorate the passing of his fellow Arizona Republican senator.
“Words cannot express the sorrow I feel at John McCain’s passing,” Flake said. “The world has lost a hero and a statesman.”
He offered his condolences to McCain’s family for their loss of a “loving husband and father.”
“I have lost a wonderful friend,” he added.
6:15 p.m.: President Obama remembers 2008 opponent
President Barack Obama remarked on the man he faced in the 2008 presidential election in a tweet Saturday evening:
“John McCain and I were members of different generations, came from completely different backgrounds, and competed at the highest level of politics,” he wrote. “But we shared, for all our differences, a fidelity to something higher — the ideals for which generations of Americans and immigrants alike have fought, marched and sacrificed. We saw our political barriers, even, as a privilege, something noble, an opportunity to serve as stewards of those high ideals at home, and to advance them around the world. We saw this country as a place where anything is possible — and citizenship as our patriotic obligations to ensure it forever remains that way.”
Obama also referenced the five years McCain endured as a prisoner of war in Vietnam.
“Few of us have been tested the way John once was, or required to show the kind of courage that he did. But all of us can aspire to the courage to put together the greater good above our own,” he continued. “At John’s best, he showed us what that means. And, for that, we are all in his debt.”
He finished off the message by saying he and his wife, Michelle Obama, send their condolences to the McCain family.
6 p.m.: Arizona state troopers to accompany Sen. John McCain body to Phoenix
Arizona Department of Public Safety vehicles were gathered at the end of the road leading to the family’s private ranch Saturday evening shortly after news of his 4:28 p.m. death.
6 p.m.: Cindy McCain: McCain passed ‘on his own terms’
Cindy McCain said in a tweet her husband “passed the way he lived, on his own terms, surrounded by the people he loved, in the place he loved.”
She reflected on their nearly four decades of marriage.
“I am so lucky to have lived this adventure of loving this incredible man for 38 years.”
5:45 p.m.: Meghan McCain remembers father as ‘hero of the republic and to his little girl’
McCain’s daughter, Meghan McCain mourned the death of her father in a sentimental Twitter post.
“I was with my father at his end, as he was with me at my beginning,” she wrote. “In the thirty-three years we shared together, he raised me, taught me, corrected me, comforted me, encouraged me and supported me in all things. He loved me, and I loved him. His love and his care, ever present, always unfailing, took me from a girl to a woman – and he showed me what it is to be a man.
All that I am is thanks to him. Now that he is gone, the task of my lifetime is to live up to his example, his expectations, and his love.
My father’s passing comes with sorrow and grief for me, for my mother, for my brothers, and for my sisters. He was a great fire who burned bright, and we lived in his light and warmth for so very long. We know that his flame lives on, in each of us. 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.
Your prayers, for his soul and for our family, are sincerely appreciated.
My father is gone, and I miss him as only as an adoring daughter can. But in this loss, and in this sorry, I take comfort in this: John McCain, hero of the republic and to his little girl, wakes today to something more glorious than anything on earth. Today the warrior enters his true and eternal life, greeted by those who have gone before him, rising to meet the Author of All Things:
‘Their dream is ended: this is the morning’.”
5:30 p.m.: Gov. Ducey celebrates McCain’s ‘phenomenal life’
Gov. Doug Ducey released the following statement after McCain’s passing was announced:
“John McCain is one American who will never be forgotten.
He was a giant. An icon. An American hero. But here at home, we were most proud to call him a fellow Arizonan. Like so many of us, he was not born here, but his spirit, service and fierce independence shaped the state with which he became synonymous.
Angela and I join all Arizonans in praying for Cindy and the entire McCain family during this difficult time and offering our full support.
As we mourn his passing and celebrate his truly phenomenal life, we’re also faced with the void John McCain’s absence leaves in the heart and soul of our nation.
John McCain fought for America every day — from the Navy through Vietnam to the U.S. Senate. He fought for what he thought was right, even when it wasn’t popular. His dogged patriotism and passion for country made him an inspiration, and a model, for all of us.
John McCain was about more than politics. He brought us above partisanship and challenged us to be great.
He once told us, ‘We’re Americans, and we never give up. We never quit. We never hide from history. We make history.’
May his life and legacy continue to inspire us to build a future for this country, and a history for this country, that would make John McCain proud.”
In a tweet, Ducey said he ordered all flags to be lowered to half-staff in honor of McCain.
“May God rest his soul and look over his entire family,” he said in a tweet. “Our state and nation mourn together.”
5 p.m.: Sen. John McCain dies at 81
McCain’s office confirmed his death in a statement:
“Senator John Sidney McCain III died at 4:28 p.m. on August 25, 2018. With the senator when he passed were his wife Cindy and their family. At his death, he had served the United States of America faithfully for 60 years.”
Noon: Cornville reflects on John McCain and his legacy
Lema Nowicki, owner of Casey’s Corner Farm Market and Provisions in Cornville, first met McCain seven years ago. She was working as a waitress at the Asylum restaurant in Jerome when the high-profile politician stopped in with his family.
“John McCain was very pleasant and easy to talk to and made eye contact,” Nowicki told The Arizona Republic. “He took breaks from his family to speak to me and the other servers just to ask how our day was and make comments like (asking) if Miguel was in the back still working.”
Over the years, McCain and his family often dined at the Page Springs Cellar Winery after they purchased the Hidden Valley Ranch in nearby Cornville. McCain would often step into the kitchen to shake hands with the chef and Nowicki’s husband, Brian, and compliment him on the fine meal he prepared.
Nowicki hopes McCain’s family will still consider Cornville “home” after his death.
“He’s a part of our community and his family is part of the community, so when he moves on, I very much hope that that ranch stays in the family and stays here and the McCains are still neighbors in Cornville.”
8:30 a.m. Saturday: Cindy McCain tweets thank you
Cindy McCain posted a message of thanks to Twitter Saturday morning.
“The entire McCain family is overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and support from around the world. Thank you.”
The tweet had garnered nearly 5,000 likes less than an hour after it was posted.
This is the first message from the McCain family since it was announced the senator will stop brain cancer treatment Friday.
McCain’s decision to end treatment isn’t uncommon
McCain has battled the deadly form of brain cancer for more than 13 months since he was diagnosed in June 2017.
Typically, glioblastoma have a median survival of 16 months, according to Michael Lawton, who is the president and CEO of Barrow Neurological Institute.
Lawton said it’s generally not worth continuing treatment if the patient has limited time left and the effect is minimal. Glioblastoma usually isn’t painful when left untreated.
“Doctors encourage patients to make their own choices when confronted with this disease because it’s such a difficult disease to control,” Lawton said.
Treatment typically involves surgery to remove as much of the tumor as possible followed by a combination of radiotherapy and chemotherapy in an attempt to kill off any cells that weren’t removed.
McCain underwent surgery to remove a blood clot from behind his eye in 2017, which turned out to be related to a malignant brain tumor, followed by a combination of chemotherapy and radiation treatment.
Since then, McCain has been recovering quietly at his family’s Cornville estate. Sparse social media posts from his daughter, Meghan McCain, and wife Cindy McCain have provided brief glimpses into his life there.
He chose to discontinue treatment due to “the progress of the disease and inexorable advance of age,” the statement said.
“The tumor keeps growing and patients often have increasing levels of neurological deficits,” Lawton said. “In some ways when people reach a point of entering hospice it’s a recognition that they’ve come to peace with this horrible disease. And they can focus on their family and goodbyes.”
The decision to stop treatment means the tumor will grow unchecked. At this point, Lawton said most patients will either remain at home with nursing care or move into a hospice.
Gov. Doug Ducey will appoint McCain’s replacement
Gov. Doug Ducey will be faced with the historical task of appointing McCain’s replacement if he resigns or dies while in office.
It will be the first time an Arizona governor has to fill a senate seat by appointment in the state’s 106-year history.
But Ducey has remained mum on the topic out of respect for McCain’s family. He’s only said he will not appoint himself.
There’s few requirements when it comes to naming a successor. The appointed replacement must also be a Republican and would serve at least until the 2020 general election.
Other than that, Ducey would have broad discretion.
It was not clear whether Friday’s announcement put additional pressure on the governor to identify a successor publicly or privately.
Cindy McCain, former U.S. Senate Republican whip Jon Kyl, Ducey chief of staff Kirk Adams and former governor candidate Barbara Barrett have all been mentioned as potential nominees.
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