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Lawmakers offer support for McCain after he discontinues cancer treatment

Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle are rushing to offer their support after GOP Sen. John McCain's (Ariz.) family announced he has decided to end medical treatment more than a year after being diagnosed with brain cancer.

Several of McCain's Senate colleagues quickly took to social media to react to the announcement, offering their "thoughts and prayers" for the 81-year-old senator who has been absent from Washington since December.

"Very sad to hear this morning's update from the family of our dear friend. ... We are so fortunate to call him our friend and colleague. John, Cindy, and the entire McCain family are in our prayers at this incredibly difficult hour," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said in a tweet.

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) added: "My thoughts and prayers are with Senator McCain and his family."

Members of the House, where McCain briefly served before becoming a senator, also weighed in, with House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) saying McCain "personifies service to our country."

"The whole House is keeping John and his family in our prayers during this time," he said.

Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), who has served in McCain's role as chairman of the Armed Services Committee in the senator's absence, said his prayers are with the family "during this difficult time."  

McCain was first elected to the Senate in 1986 and is widely respected by his colleagues on both sides of the aisle, who recently passed a mammoth defense policy bill named after him.

"God bless and keep this wonderful man and his family," GOP Sen. Jeff Flake (Ariz.) said in a tweet. Flake previously confronted Trump during a 2016 closed-door GOP caucus lunch because of the then-candidate's mocking of McCain.

"One of the true honors of my life has been having @SenJohnMcCain as a friend & mentor. He's a true American hero. His courage & indomitable spirit have inspired millions in America & across the globe. I humbly ask all Americans to pray for him & his loving family. Semper Fi John," GOP Sen. Dan Sullivan (Alaska) said in a tweet.

GOP Sen. Johnny Isakson (Ga.) added that the country owes McCain a "debt of gratitude."

Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.) added: Thank you for your courage, and for your extraordinary service and leadership."

In addition to senators, congressional staffers also began sharing their memories of McCain.

Kevin Bishop - a spokesman for GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham (S.C.), a close friend and Senate ally of McCain's - recalled a CNN town hall the two senators did together.

McCain was diagnosed in July 2017 with an aggressive form of brain cancer, which was discovered after he had surgery to remove a clot above his eye.

"In the year since, John has surpassed expectations for his survival. But the progress of disease and the inexorable advance of age render their verdict. With his usual strength of will, he has now chosen to discontinue medical treatment," McCain's family said in a statement released by his office on Friday.

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