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Politicians, world leaders laud McCain’s legacy

John S. McCain, the venerable politician, six-term Republican senator from Arizona and one-time prisoner of war who ran two unsuccessful bids for the United States presidency, died on Saturday at the age of 81 following a battle with brain cancer.

His daughter, Megan McCain, in an emotional statement, said she was with her father when he passed away. He died at 4:28 p.m. local time at his Cornville, Arizona home.

“Now that he is gone, the task of my lifetime is to live up to his example, his expectations, and his love,” she wrote.

“I miss him as only an adoring daughter can. But in this loss, and in this sorry I take comfort with this: John McCain, hero of the republic and to his little girl, wakes today to something more glorious than anything on this 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.”

Hours after his passing, McCain’s body was accompanied by a motorcade of Arizona State Troopers, black SUVs and an abundance of other law enforcement vehicles in a procession. As it moved toward the Phoenix mortuary Saturday night, dozens of people waited on an overpass above Interstate 17, some waving American flags. Others lined the streets in Phoenix along the motorcade’s route.

Arrangements are being made for McCain to lie in state at both the Arizona state and U.S capitols. He will be laid to rest at the U.S. Naval Academy Cemetery in Annapolis, Maryland.

As news of his death spread, support from across the political spectrum and around the world poured in on social media.

President Donald Trump, who often had heated public exchanges with the longtime senator and mocked him for his time as a prisoner of war, offered his “deepest sympathies and respect” to McCain’s family.

Former President Barack Obama, McCain’s Democratic opponent during the 2008 presidential election, extended his condolences to the McCain family in a statement and said “we are all in his debt.”

“John McCain and I were members of different generations, came from completely different backgrounds, and competed at the highest level of politics,” Obama said. “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.”

George W. Bush, who won the 2000 Republican nomination for the presidency ahead of McCain, also extended his sympathies to McCain’s family.

“John McCain was a man of deep conviction and a patriot of the highest order,” he said in statement. “He was a public servant in the finest traditions of our country. And to me, he was a friend whom I’ll deeply miss.”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel called McCain “one of the great political personalities of our time,” whose “significance went well beyond his own country.”

“John McCain was led by the firm conviction that the sense of all political work lies in service to freedom, democracy and the rule of law,” she said. “His death is a loss to all those who share this conviction.”

A memorial also sprang up in Vietnam, where McCain was once held for more than five years after the Navy aircraft he was commandeering was shot down in 1967 during the Vietnam War, the Associated Press reported.

Many others took to Twitter to send their condolences and laud McCain, who established a reputation as an adept politician that helped earn him the title of “maverick,” a moniker that carried throughout much of his nearly 40-year political career, in part because of his willingness to stand up to Republican leadership.

Others added their own tributes on social media:

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