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Republican Senator John McCain through the years

Updated : 2018-08-30 11:51:56

Sen. John McCain, who faced down his captors in a Vietnam prisoner of war camp with jut-jawed defiance and later turned his rebellious streak into a 35-year political career that took him to Congress and the Republican presidential nomination, died last Saturday after battling brain cancer for more than a year. He was 81.

McCain was elected to the Senate from Arizona six times but twice thwarted in seeking the presidency. McCain returned to the Senate in 2009, determined not to let that defeat define him.

Former Vice President Joe Biden put it this way: "I think John's legacy is that he never quits."

McCain did not fear much, including the wrath of President Donald Trump and his Republican colleagues. Notably just last year, McCain was the decisive "no" on legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

That made him the unlikely savior of the signature legislative achievement of Barack Obama, the man who beat him for president in 2008. He also ran in 2000, losing the GOP nomination to George W. Bush.

FILE - In this Nov. 3, 2008, file photo, Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., speaks at a rally in Tampa, Fla. Aide says senator, war hero and GOP presidential candidate McCain died Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018. He was 81. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)
FILE - In this Nov. 3, 2008, file photo, Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., speaks at a rally in Tampa, Fla. Aide says senator, war hero and GOP presidential candidate McCain died Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018. He was 81. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)
FILE - In this July 14, 1961, file photo, U.S. Navy Lt. John S. McCain III, left, and his parents, Rear Adm. John S. McCain Jr., right, and Roberta Wright McCain stand in front of a plaque with an image of his grandfather, Adm. John S. McCain, as the Naval Air Station Meridian McCain Field is commissioned and named in honor of Adm. McCain in Meridian, Miss. An aide says that U.S. Sen. John McCain died Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018. He was 81. (AP Photo/File)
FILE - In this July 14, 1961, file photo, U.S. Navy Lt. John S. McCain III, left, and his parents, Rear Adm. John S. McCain Jr., right, and Roberta Wright McCain stand in front of a plaque with an image of his grandfather, Adm. John S. McCain, as the Naval Air Station Meridian McCain Field is commissioned and named in honor of Adm. McCain in Meridian, Miss. An aide says that U.S. Sen. John McCain died Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018. He was 81. (AP Photo/File)
FILE - In this Dec. 1, 1992, file photo, Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., left, chairman of the Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs, listens to Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., a former POW in Vietnam, during a hearing of the committee on Capitol Hill in Washington. Arizona Sen. McCain, the war hero who became the GOP's standard-bearer in the 2008 election, has died. He was 81. His office says McCain died Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018. He had battled brain cancer. (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds, File)
FILE - In this Dec. 1, 1992, file photo, Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., left, chairman of the Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs, listens to Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., a former POW in Vietnam, during a hearing of the committee on Capitol Hill in Washington. Arizona Sen. McCain, the war hero who became the GOP's standard-bearer in the 2008 election, has died. He was 81. His office says McCain died Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018. He had battled brain cancer. (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds, File)
FILE - In this undated file photo provided by CBS, U.S. Navy Lt. Commander John S. McCain lies injured in North Vietnam. McCain, the war hero who became the GOP's standard-bearer in the 2008 election, died Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018. He was 81. (CBS via AP, File)
FILE - In this undated file photo provided by CBS, U.S. Navy Lt. Commander John S. McCain lies injured in North Vietnam. McCain, the war hero who became the GOP's standard-bearer in the 2008 election, died Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018. He was 81. (CBS via AP, File)
FILE - In this Oct. 7, 2008, file photo, Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., left, and Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., greet each other at the start of a townhall-style presidential debate at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn. Aide says senator, war hero and GOP presidential candidate McCain died Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018. He was 81. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey, File)
FILE - In this Oct. 7, 2008, file photo, Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., left, and Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., greet each other at the start of a townhall-style presidential debate at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn. Aide says senator, war hero and GOP presidential candidate McCain died Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018. He was 81. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey, File)
FILE - In this May 24, 1999, file photo, Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., jokingly holds the Profile in Courage award as if he intends to keep it, as co-winner, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., looks on at right during a ceremony at the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston. In back row are their spouses, Victoria Kennedy, left, and Cindy McCain. Arizona Sen. McCain, the war hero who became the GOP's standard-bearer in the 2008 election, has died. He was 81. His office says McCain died Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018. He had battled brain cancer. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola, File)
FILE - In this May 24, 1999, file photo, Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., jokingly holds the Profile in Courage award as if he intends to keep it, as co-winner, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., looks on at right during a ceremony at the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston. In back row are their spouses, Victoria Kennedy, left, and Cindy McCain. Arizona Sen. McCain, the war hero who became the GOP's standard-bearer in the 2008 election, has died. He was 81. His office says McCain died Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018. He had battled brain cancer. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola, File)
FILE - In this Dec. 1, 2017, file photo, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., leaves a closed-door session on Capitol Hill in Washington, where Republican senators met on the GOP effort to overhaul the tax code. Arizona Sen. McCain, the war hero who became the GOP's standard-bearer in the 2008 election, has died. He was 81. His office says McCain died Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018. He had battled brain cancer. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)
FILE - In this Dec. 1, 2017, file photo, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., leaves a closed-door session on Capitol Hill in Washington, where Republican senators met on the GOP effort to overhaul the tax code. Arizona Sen. McCain, the war hero who became the GOP's standard-bearer in the 2008 election, has died. He was 81. His office says McCain died Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018. He had battled brain cancer. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)
FILE - In this Oct. 11, 2008, file photo, Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., speaks at a rally in Davenport, Iowa. Arizona Sen. McCain, the war hero who became the GOP's standard-bearer in the 2008 election, has died. He was 81. His office says McCain died Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018. He had battled brain cancer. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)
FILE - In this Oct. 11, 2008, file photo, Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., speaks at a rally in Davenport, Iowa. Arizona Sen. McCain, the war hero who became the GOP's standard-bearer in the 2008 election, has died. He was 81. His office says McCain died Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018. He had battled brain cancer. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)
FILE - In this June 24, 1992, file photo, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., holds up an article from the Washington Times during a hearing of the Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs on Capitol Hill in Washington. Arizona Sen. McCain, the war hero who became the GOP's standard-bearer in the 2008 election, has died. He was 81. His office says McCain died Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018. He had battled brain cancer. (AP Photo/John Duricka, File)
FILE - In this June 24, 1992, file photo, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., holds up an article from the Washington Times during a hearing of the Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs on Capitol Hill in Washington. Arizona Sen. McCain, the war hero who became the GOP's standard-bearer in the 2008 election, has died. He was 81. His office says McCain died Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018. He had battled brain cancer. (AP Photo/John Duricka, File)
FILE - In this March 14, 1973, file photo, U.S. Navy Lt. Cmdr. John McCain, center, is escorted by Lt. Cmdr. Jay Coupe Jr., to Hanoi, Vietnam's Gia Lam Airport, after McCain was released from captivity. An aide says that McCain died Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018. He was 81. (AP Photo/Horst Faas, File)
FILE - In this March 14, 1973, file photo, U.S. Navy Lt. Cmdr. John McCain, center, is escorted by Lt. Cmdr. Jay Coupe Jr., to Hanoi, Vietnam's Gia Lam Airport, after McCain was released from captivity. An aide says that McCain died Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018. He was 81. (AP Photo/Horst Faas, File)
FILE - In this Jan. 19, 2008, file photo, Cindy McCain, wife of Republican presidential hopeful Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., uses a cheetah hand puppet to make her husband laugh as they ride the
FILE - In this Jan. 19, 2008, file photo, Cindy McCain, wife of Republican presidential hopeful Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., uses a cheetah hand puppet to make her husband laugh as they ride the "Straight Talk Express" campaign bus to a polling station in Charleston, S.C., on the day of South Carolina's Republican presidential primary. Arizona Sen. McCain, the war hero who became the GOP's standard-bearer in the 2008 election, has died. He was 81. His office says McCain died Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018. He had battled brain cancer. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)
FILE - In this Sept. 3, 2008, file photo, Republican presidential candidate John McCain, center, joins vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, left, and her family following her speech at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn. Aide says senator, war hero and GOP presidential candidate McCain died Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018. He was 81. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File)
FILE - In this Sept. 3, 2008, file photo, Republican presidential candidate John McCain, center, joins vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, left, and her family following her speech at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn. Aide says senator, war hero and GOP presidential candidate McCain died Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018. He was 81. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File)
FILE - In this May 25, 1973, file photo, U.S. Navy Lt. Cmdr. John McCain is greeted by President Richard Nixon, left, in Washington, after McCain's release from a prisoner of war camp in North Vietnam. An aide says that McCain died Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018. He was 81. (AP Photo/Harvey Georges, File)
FILE - In this May 25, 1973, file photo, U.S. Navy Lt. Cmdr. John McCain is greeted by President Richard Nixon, left, in Washington, after McCain's release from a prisoner of war camp in North Vietnam. An aide says that McCain died Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018. He was 81. (AP Photo/Harvey Georges, File)
FILE - In this Jan. 30, 2000, file photo, confetti falls on Republican presidential hopeful Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and his wife, Cindy, at the end of their 114th New Hampshire town hall meeting with voters at the Peterborough Town House in Peterborough, N.H. Aide says senator, war hero and GOP presidential candidate McCain died Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018. He was 81. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia, File)
FILE - In this Jan. 30, 2000, file photo, confetti falls on Republican presidential hopeful Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and his wife, Cindy, at the end of their 114th New Hampshire town hall meeting with voters at the Peterborough Town House in Peterborough, N.H. Aide says senator, war hero and GOP presidential candidate McCain died Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018. He was 81. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia, File)
FILE - In this Sept. 4, 2008, file photo, Republican presidential candidate John McCain acknowledges the crowed as he goes on stage at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn. Aide says senator, war hero and GOP presidential candidate McCain died Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018. He was 81. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)
FILE - In this Sept. 4, 2008, file photo, Republican presidential candidate John McCain acknowledges the crowed as he goes on stage at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn. Aide says senator, war hero and GOP presidential candidate McCain died Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018. He was 81. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)
FILE - In this Nov. 7, 1991, file photo, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., left, is hugged by former North Vietnam Col. Bui Tin on Capitol Hill in Washington after a hearing of the Senate Select Committee on POW and MIA affairs. Tin oversaw a military prison operation dubbed the
FILE - In this Nov. 7, 1991, file photo, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., left, is hugged by former North Vietnam Col. Bui Tin on Capitol Hill in Washington after a hearing of the Senate Select Committee on POW and MIA affairs. Tin oversaw a military prison operation dubbed the "Hanoi Hilton," where McCain was held prisoner during the Vietnam War. McCain, the war hero who became the GOP's standard-bearer in the 2008 election, died Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018. He was 81. (AP Photo/Dennis Cook, File)
FILE - In this Sept. 4, 2008, file photo, Republican presidential nominee John McCain embraces his mother, Roberta, following his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn. Aide says senator, war hero and GOP presidential candidate McCain died Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018. He was 81. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)
FILE - In this Sept. 4, 2008, file photo, Republican presidential nominee John McCain embraces his mother, Roberta, following his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn. Aide says senator, war hero and GOP presidential candidate McCain died Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018. He was 81. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)
FILE - In this Jan. 1, 2008, file photo, Presidential hopeful Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., center, and his wife, Cindy, greet Richard Brothers on their way to a house party in Tilton, N.H. Aide says senator, war hero and GOP presidential candidate McCain died Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018. He was 81. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)
FILE - In this Jan. 1, 2008, file photo, Presidential hopeful Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., center, and his wife, Cindy, greet Richard Brothers on their way to a house party in Tilton, N.H. Aide says senator, war hero and GOP presidential candidate McCain died Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018. He was 81. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)
FILE - In this Jan. 29, 2008, file photo, Republican presidential hopeful Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., celebrates in Miami after winning the Florida Republican presidential primary. Aide says senator, war hero and GOP presidential candidate McCain died Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018. He was 81. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)
FILE - In this Jan. 29, 2008, file photo, Republican presidential hopeful Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., celebrates in Miami after winning the Florida Republican presidential primary. Aide says senator, war hero and GOP presidential candidate McCain died Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018. He was 81. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)
FILE - In this Oct. 18, 2008, file photo, Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., waves to the crowd at a campaign rally in Woodbridge, Va. Aide says senator, war hero and GOP presidential candidate McCain died Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018. He was 81. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)
FILE - In this Oct. 18, 2008, file photo, Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., waves to the crowd at a campaign rally in Woodbridge, Va. Aide says senator, war hero and GOP presidential candidate McCain died Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018. He was 81. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)
FILE - In this Sept. 27, 2007, file photo, Republican presidential hopeful Arizona Sen. John McCain listens to a question at the Hudson Institute's New York Briefing Council in New York. Aide says senator, war hero and GOP presidential candidate McCain died Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018. He was 81. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II, File)
FILE - In this Sept. 27, 2007, file photo, Republican presidential hopeful Arizona Sen. John McCain listens to a question at the Hudson Institute's New York Briefing Council in New York. Aide says senator, war hero and GOP presidential candidate McCain died Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018. He was 81. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II, File)
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