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Tributes to Sen McCain, ‘American patriot, hero’

Arizona, Sunday

Tributes from former US presidents and across the political spectrum have poured in for Republican Senator John McCain, who has died aged 81.

Barack Obama, who beat McCain to the White House in 2008, said they shared a “fidelity to something higher”. George W Bush described him as “a patriot of the highest order”.

President Donald Trump, whom McCain had strongly criticised, tweeted his “deepest sympathies” to McCain’s family but did not comment on his life.

Sources quoted by US media said Trump would not be invited to the funeral and the current administration would probably be represented by Vice President Mike Pence. Former Presidents Obama and George W Bush are expected to give eulogies.

McCain was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumour in July last year and had been undergoing treatment. But on Friday his family announced he had decided to discontinue that treatment. A statement from his office on Saturday said McCain died in Arizona surrounded by family members.

His family said he would lie in state in Phoenix, Arizona, and in Washington DC before a funeral at the Washington National Cathedral and his burial in Annapolis, Maryland. “He was a public servant in the finest traditions of our country. And to me, he was a friend whom I’ll deeply miss,” Bush said.

Obama said despite being his Democratic rival, they shared the ideals “for which generations of Americans and immigrants alike have fought, marched and sacrificed”.

Sarah Palin, who was McCain’s running mate during his 2008 presidential bid, said the world had lost “an American original”.

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu hailed McCain as “a great American patriot” whose “support for Israel never wavered.” Canadian PM Justin Trudeau said McCain’s lifetime of public service had been “an inspiration to millions”.

Following news of his death, wellwishers waving flags lined the street as a hearse brought McCain’s body from his ranch in Sedona to a funeral home in Phoenix.   -BBC

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