Roberta McCain, the mother of the late Arizona Sen. John McCain and grandmother of The View co-host Meghan McCain, died Monday in Washington, D.C. She was 108. Sen. McCain's widow, Cindy McCain, shared the news on Twitter. Meghan also published a tribute to her grandmother.
"It is with great sadness that I announce the death of my wonderful Mother In-law, Roberta McCain. I couldn't have asked for a better role model or a better friend. She joins her husband Jack, her son John and daughter Sandy," Cindy wrote. Meghan also thanked McCain for "teaching us all about living life on your own terms with grit, conviction, intensity and love. There will never be another one like you, you will be missed every day. I wish my daughter had gotten to meet you."
I love you Nana. You’re everything I ever aspired to be. Thank you for teaching us all about living life on your own terms with grit, conviction, intensity and love. There will never be another one like you, you will be missed every day. I wish my daughter had gotten to meet you. pic.twitter.com/yy9sM8cG6i— Meghan McCain (@MeghanMcCain) October 12, 2020
McCain was born in Muskogee, Oklahoma, and had an identical twin, Rowena, who died in 2011. In 1933, she married John S. McCain Jr., and they remained married until his death in 1981. The two had three children, daughter Jean "Sandy" McCain and sons Senator McCain and journalist Joseph McCain II, 78. Sandy died in 2019 and Senator McCain died in 2018 following a battle with brain cancer. McCain's survivors include 10 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.
McCain was not a public figure until Senator McCain's first run for the presidency in 2000, notes the Washington Post. She publicly said at that time she did not expect her son to get elected, but she played a more prominent role in his 2008 run. When people suggested the senator was too old to be president, he often pointed to his mother, who appeared at campaign rallies and made shockingly frank statements to reporters. At one point, McCain's campaign tried to keep her from giving interviews.
After her husband's death in 1981, McCain began traveling the world, often with her sister. They kept traveling regularly into their 90s. In her 90s, she would spend hours a week at the National Gallery of Art or the Freer Gallery of Art.
"I didn't do anything I'm supposed to do," McCain told Vogue in 2008 when asked about her longevity. "I don't exercise and today, I've already eaten a half a box of caramel popcorn. Honey, I've had a dream life, and it was all luck."