"Some lives are so vivid, it is difficult to imagine them ended. Some voices are so vibrant, it is hard to think of them stilled," Bush, who ran against McCain for the Republican presidential nomination in 2000, wrote on Facebook. "John McCain was a man of deep conviction and a patriot of the highest order. He was a public servant in the finest traditions of our country. And to me, he was a friend whom I'll deeply miss. Laura and I send our heartfelt sympathies to Cindy and the entire McCain family, and our thanks to God for the life of John McCain."
"John McCain was a man of honor, a true patriot in the best sense of the word," Carter wrote. "Americans will be forever grateful for his heroic military service and for his steadfast integrity as a member of the United States Senate. Rosalynn and I extend our sincere condolences to Senator McCain's family and to the people of Arizona whom he represented so forthrightly for so many years."
Bush's father, President George H.W. Bush, also issued a statement to honor McCain's life of service.
statement by former President George H. W. Bush on the death of Senator John McCain of Arizona. pic.twitter.com/hxAs8AJYZg— Zeke Miller (@ZekeJMiller) August 26, 2018
McCain died Saturday, more than a year after he was diagnosed with brain cancer. Hours before his death, the McCain family said he would no longer be treated for the disease.
McCain was a Vietnam War veteran, and survived five years as a prisoner of war. After retiring from the Navy, he moved to Arizona and entered public life when he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1982. In 1987, he was elected to the U.S. Senate and was re-elected five times, including in 2016. His current term expires in 2022.
McCain ran for president twice. In 2000, he competed for the Republican Party nomination against Bush and emerged as Bush's only serious competition. He won seven primaries before dropping out. McCain ran again in 2008 and won the nomination, but lost in the general election to President Barack Obama.
"Few of us have been tested the way John once was, or required to show the kind of courage that he did," Obama said in his own statement. "But all of us can aspire to the courage to put the greater good above our own. At John's best, he showed us what that means. And for that, we are all in his debt. Michelle and I send our heartfelt condolences to Cindy and their family."
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