Grief, support pours in after McCain brain cancer diagnosis

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WASHINGTON — The news of Sen. John McCain’s brain cancer diagnosis was immediately met with shock and grief Wednesday night, with many taking to social media to express support for the Arizona Republican.

Former President Barack Obama, McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign opponent, tweeted his support.

“Cancer doesn’t know what it’s up against. Give it hell, John,” the 44th president wrote.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called McCain “a hero to our conference and a hero to our country.”

“He has never shied from a fight and I know that he will face this challenge with the same extraordinary courage that has characterized his life,” McConnell said in a statement. “We all look forward to seeing this American hero again soon.”

Arizona’s other senator, Jeff Flake, wrote in a tweet, “Just spoke to @SenJohnMcCain. Tough diagnosis, but even tougher man.”

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey echoed others in calling McCain, who spent more than five years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, “undoubtedly the toughest man in the US Senate.”

“He is an American hero and has served our country like few ever will,” Ducey said on Twitter. “He has set an example for all Americans in the toughest of fights, in difficult circumstances. I have no doubt he’ll do it again.”

Hillary Clinton expressed her support for the McCain family.

“John McCain is as tough as they come,” she said in a tweet. “Thinking of John, Cindy, their wonderful children, & their whole family tonight.”

Republican Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma tweeted, “Senator John McCain is a fighter. If there is anyone who can beat cancer, it’s John. Praying for you @SenJohnMcCain”

Democratic Sen. Brian Schatz of Hawaii tweeted, “This is awful news. The country owes a debt of gratitude to this American hero.”

McCain’s daughter, Meghan McCain, responded to the news in a statement.

“The news of my father’s illness has affected every one of us in the McCain family. My grandmother, mother, brothers, sisters and I have all endured the shock of the news, and now we live with the anxiety about what comes next,” she said. “It won’t surprise you to learn that in all this, the one of us who is most confident and calm is my father. He is the toughest person I know.”