Minutes after McCain’s death was announced, Trump, 72, tweeted a message for McCain’s family.
“My deepest sympathies and respect go out to the family of Senator John McCain,” wrote Trump. “Our hearts and prayers are with you!”
McCain, the former POW and outspoken Republican politician nicknamed The Maverick for being unafraid to disagree with fellow members of his party, died at 4:28 p.m. on Saturday, his family announced in a statement, according to NBC News.
On Friday, his family said that McCain, “with his usual strength of will,” decided to stop treatment for the stage-four brain cancer he had been battling since its diagnosis last summer.
“In the year since,” the McCain family said, “John has surpassed expectations for his survival. But the progress of disease and the inexorable advance of age render their verdict.”
VIDEO: Sen. John McCain, Maverick Politician and Decorated War Veteran, Dies at 81
In July 2017, McCain revealed that he had been diagnosed with glioblastoma, the most aggressive form of brain cancer, just days after he underwent surgery to remove a blood clot above his eye.
McCain later revealed during a September 2017 interview with 60 Minutes that he asked doctors to be forthright about his health.
“Some say 3 percent, some say 14 percent. You know it’s — it’s a very poor prognosis,” he said. “So I just said, ‘I understand. Now we’re going to do what we can, get the best doctors we can find and do the best we can, and at the same time celebrate with gratitude a life well lived.’ “
Months later, as McCain continued his battle against brain cancer, his daughter Meghan paid tribute to her father and his “Viking” fighting spirit in a touching Instagram post in May.
“My Mother calls me ‘John McCain in a dress’ – my relationship with my father has always been magic – we are fiercely and protectively forever on each other’s team,” Meghan captioned a smiling photo with her father. “Love with your complete and whole heart in this life. We keep fighting because we are all McCains, we are a family of a long lineage of Vikings – fighting is what we have always done, and what we will always do.”