NFL star Larry Fitzgerald on Friday delivered a touching tribute to the late Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainGOP senators appalled by 'ridiculous' House infighting MSNBC's Nicolle Wallace, Chris Christie battle over Fox News Trump's attacks on McConnell seen as prelude to 2024 White House bid MORE (R-Ariz.) while speaking at a memorial service for the longtime senator, saying McCain's approach to humanity was why he was widely respected around the world.

"He didn't judge individuals based on the color of their skin, their gender, their backgrounds, their political affiliations or their bank accounts," Fitzgerald said. "He evaluated them on the merits of their character & the countenance of their hearts.


"He judged them on the work they put in and the principles they lived by. It was this approach to humanity the made Senator John McCain so respected by countless people around the world, including me."

Fitzgerald added that despite being from very different backgrounds, he and McCain developed a "meaningful friendship" — one that highlighted  "the very rare and very special qualities of Senator McCain that I came to deeply admire."

"He ran for president, I run out of bounds," Fitzgerald, an all-pro wide receiver for Arizona Cardinals, quipped. "He was the epitome of toughness, and I do everything I can to avoid contact. I have flowing locks, and ... well ... he didn't."

His comments come nearly a week after McCain died at the age of 81 from brain cancer. 

Fitzgerald said earlier this week that speaking during a memorial service for McCain would be "one of the greatest honors of my life."

Following the service, McCain's body will be transported to Washington, D.C., to lie in state at the Capitol on Friday.

He will be buried at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., on Sunday, Sept. 2, following a week of memorial services commemorating his life.