McCain announced last year he was diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer, and was given a dire prognosis.
His family said in a statement that since he was diagnosed “John has surpassed expectations for his survival.”
“But the progress of disease and the inexorable advance of age render their verdict,” the McCain family said. “With his usual strength of will, he has now chosen to discontinue medical treatment.”
McCain, who will turn 82 next week, is a former Vietnam War veteran and prisoner of war, has served in the Senate since 1987.
He has repeatedly struck a defiant tone against President Donald Trump who disputed McCain’s status as a war hero, saying in 2015 “He’s a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.”
The news that McCain would no longer seek treatment prompted an outpouring of condolences from Democrats and Republicans alike.
“Very sad to hear this morning’s update from the family of our dear friend @SenJohnMcCain,” Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wrote on Twitter. “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.”
Minority Leader Chuck Schumer added his “thoughts and prayers are with Senator McCain and his family.”