U.S. Senator John McCain, the 2008 Republican presidential nominee known for political independence during more than three decades in the Senate, has been diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer, his office said on Wednesday. President Donald Trump, former President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benujamin Netanyahu were among those who quickly tweeted out messages of support for McCain.
The 80-year-old lawmaker and former Navy pilot, who was re-elected to a sixth Senate term in November, has been recovering at home in Arizona since undergoing surgery at the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix last Friday to remove a blood clot from above his left eye.
Tissue analysis since that procedure revealed that a brain tumor known as a glioblastoma was associated with the clot, his office said. McCain made headlines in June during the testimony of former FBI Director James Comey when his line of questioning became convoluted and confused.
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While known as a fierce advocate for strong U.S. military action overseas, McCain also has a reputation for working with Democrats on issues from clamping down on campaign finance abuses to immigration reform.
'GIVE IT HELL, JOHN'
"Senator John McCain has always been a fighter," said Donald Trump. "Get well soon."
Trump had famously attacked McCain during the 2016 presidential election, question his worthiness as a war hero by insisting that, "He's a war hero because he was captured. I like people that weren't captured."
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also tweeted a message of goodwill for Republican Senator writing, "Godspeed, @SenJohnMcCain. A hero. A fighter. A friend. Israel is with you."
Barack Obama, who defeated McCain for the White House in 2008, called McCain "an American hero and one of the bravest fighters I've ever known. Cancer doesn't know what it's up against. Give it hell, John."
McCain is a respected figure in American politics, known as the "Maverick" for his unwavering principles. During the 2008 presidential election he refused to accept criticism of his then-opponent Senator Barack Obama as a Muslim - openly defending Obama's patriotism in a video that became synonymous with McCain's propensity for putting country over politics.
McCain was one of Congress' most vocal critics of Obama's foreign policy, but he has also raised questions about Trump, a fellow Republican.