Amid polarized politics, McCain reminded Americans: 'More unites us than divides us'

BREAKING John McCain Vietnam War hero and longtime Arizona senator dies at 81

Former US President Barack Obama is one of many paying tribute to Arizona Senator John McCain, following the death of his 2008 presidential rival.

Prior to embarking on his congressional career in 1983, McCain spent 23 years in the Navy as a naval aviator. These are the messages of mourning and tribute to the Republican senator, war hero and conservative maverick.

Prior to his life in politics, McCain served as a pilot in the U.S. Navy.

Cindy McCain, John McCain's wife, also posted a statement on Twitter. Additionally, his courage, perseverance and ability to overcome adversity, in every facet of his life, will continue to inspire us all. "And at the same time, celebrate with gratitude a life well-lived". Senator McCain was 81 years old, passing away nine years to the day of his colleague Sen. John McCain, who died Saturday at the age of 81. "Americans will be forever grateful for his heroic military service and for his steadfast integrity as a member of the United States Senate". He said the President, who once ridiculed Mr. McCain's wartime confinement in a withering comment that startled the political establishment and that the senator never forgave, "has declined to distinguish the actions of our government from the crimes of despotic ones, " adding, "Flattery secures his friendship, criticism his enmity". John McCain following the death of his 2008 presidential rival.

Whether you voted for him or not, there is one thing most can agree on - he loved his family, he loved his country and he loved Arizona.

But there was an authenticity to Mr. McCain's talk of selflessness-of service, of country-and it was evident in his campaign appearances.

"I understand the discipline and the things that go along about being a service person and protecting our freedoms", Edwards said.

McCain has not been in Washington since December, leaving a vacuum in the corridors of the Senate and the television news studios he roamed for decades.

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"I would like to see us recover our sense that we are more alike than different".

Former Alaska governor and vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin issued a statement mourning the loss of her "American Original" running mate Sen. "Our hearts and prayers are with you!"

His entrance to national politics came in 1982, when he ran for an open seat in the House of Representatives.

McCain's military pedigree and independent streak won respect during the race but his choice of the unqualified Palin as running mate - apparently created to appeal to Christian evangelicals who deserted him in 2000 - damaged his credibility. This time, he won the nomination and faced Barack Obama.

OH 11th Congressional District Representative Marcia L. Fudge send the family her "sincerest sympathy" and said "America lost not only a patriot and a U.S. Senator today, but a man of great moral character".

"On behalf of myself, Jill, and the entire Biden family, our sincerest condolences go out to Cindy, Doug, Andy, Sidney, Meghan, Jack, Jimmy, Bridget, and the entire McCain family".

He has always been surrounded by strong women-his wife and my friend Cindy, his mom, and his daughters. Romney released a almost 500-word essay on McCain and their friendship on his campaign website.

A dark period for McCain came as one of the "Keating Five " group of senators accused of improperly intervening with federal regulators to help political contributor and bank executive Charles Keating, whose Lincoln Savings and Loan failed in 1989 at a cost to taxpayers of US$3.4 billion (S$4.64 billion).

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