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John McCain the war hero, senator, presidential candidate dies of cancer

Senator John McCain, who faced down his captors in a Vietnam prisoner of war camp with jut-jawed defiance and later turned his rebellious streak into a 35-year political career that took him to Congress and the Republican presidential nomination, died Saturday after battling brain cancer for more than a year. He was 81.

McCain was elected to the Senate from Arizona six times but twice thwarted in seeking the presidency. McCain returned to the Senate in 2009, determined not to let that defeat define him.

In his valedictory memoir, “The Restless Wave,” McCain wrote of the world he inhabited: “I hate to leave it. But I don’t have a complaint. Not one.”

He continued: “I’ve known great passions, seen amazing wonders, fought in a war and helped make a peace … I made a small place for myself in the story of America and the history of my times.”

But former Vice President Joe Biden put it this way: “I think John’s legacy is that he never quits.”

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