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John McCain Fast Facts

CNN Editorial Research

Here is a look at the life of US Senator John McCain.


Birth date: August 29, 1936

Death date: August 25, 2018

Birth place: Panama Canal Zone

Birth name: John Sidney McCain III

Father: John McCain Jr., Navy admiral

Mother: Roberta (Wright) McCain

Marriages: Cindy (Hensley) McCain (May 17, 1980-August 25, 2018, his death); Carol (Shepp) McCain (1965-1980, divorced)

Children: with Cindy (Hensley) McCain: Bridget, James, John and Meghan; with Carol (Shepp) McCain: Sidney, Andrew (Adopted from her previous marriage) and Douglas (Adopted from her previous marriage)

Education: US Naval Academy, 1958

Military service: US Navy, 1958-1981, Captain

Religion: Raised Episcopalian

Other Facts

Was awarded the Silver Star, the Bronze Star, the Legion of Merit, a Purple Heart and the Distinguished Flying Cross.

McCain’s father and grandfather were both four-star US Navy admirals. They were the first father and son to achieve this rank.


October 26, 1967-March 14, 1973 During the Vietnam War, McCain is shot down and captured by North Vietnamese forces. He is held as a POW for more than five years.

1977-1981 Navy liaison to the US Senate.

1981 Retires from the US Navy.

1983-1987 US Representative from Arizona’s 1st District.

November 4, 1986 Wins the US Senate seat vacated by retiring Senator Barry Goldwater.

1989-1991 Is investigated as being one of five senators, called the Keating Five, who interfered with regulators on behalf of Charles Keating, a financier accused of financial violations and convicted of securities fraud. McCain is cleared, but the Senate Ethics Committee decides that McCain showed poor judgment in his efforts for Keating, who was a large contributor to McCain’s campaign.

1990s As part of the Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs, McCain works with Democrats, including John Kerry, on normalizing relations and increasing trade with Vietnam.

November 3, 1992 Is reelected to the Senate.

1993 – McCain has a melanoma lesion removed from his shoulder.

November 3, 1998 Is reelected to the Senate.

1999 McCain’s memoir, “Faith of My Fathers,” is published.

September 27, 1999 Formally announces his presidential candidacy, while in New Hampshire.

March 9, 2000 Suspends his campaign for president.

May 9, 2000 Endorses George W. Bush for president.

August 19, 2000 – Undergoes more than five hours of surgery to remove two cancerous skin lesions on his temple and upper arm. The melanoma on his left arm is declared Stage 0, but the melanoma removed from McCain’s left lower temple proves invasive, though later dissection of dozens of lymph nodes shows no evidence that the cancer had spread.

February 4, 2002 – McCain undergoes surgery to remove a skin lesion from his nose.

September 2002 “Worth the Fighting for: A Memoir,” is published.

November 2, 2004 Is reelected to the Senate for a fourth term.

February 28, 2007 Appears on the “Late Show with David Letterman” and confirms that he will seek the Republican presidential nomination.

April 25, 2007 – McCain announces he is running for president.

August 29, 2008 Announces that he has selected Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska to be his vice presidential running mate.

September 4, 2008 Accepts the Republican nomination for president at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota.

November 4, 2008 – Loses the presidential election to US Senator Barack Obama.

November 2, 2010 Is reelected to the Senate for a fifth term.

August 29, 2012 Speaks at the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida, on his 76th birthday.

May 27, 2013 – Meets with rebels in Syria.

August 5, 2013 – At President Obama’s request, McCain and Sen. Lindsey Graham arrive in Cairo to meet with Egyptian interim leaders and separately, with the Muslim Brotherhood leadership.

December 14, 2013 – McCain meets with opposition leaders in Kyiv, Ukraine, during protests in the country.

November 8, 2016 – Wins his sixth term in the US Senate, defeating Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick.

February 2017 – Makes an official but unannounced trip to northern Syria to visit US forces.

July 15, 2017 – The Mayo Clinic releases a statement saying McCain had a blood clot removed from his left eye on July 14.

July 19, 2017 – Mayo Clinic doctors directly involved in the senator’s care tell CNN McCain has been diagnosed with a primary glioblastoma, a type of brain tumor. Lab results from his surgery confirmed the presence of brain cancer associated with the blood clot.

July 25, 2017 – Returns to the Senate to cast his vote on a procedural step to advance Republicans’ plans to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

July 28, 2017 – Just before 2 a.m. ET, McCain votes “no,” effectively killing his party’s narrowly-crafted Obamacare repeal bill.

April 16, 2018 – McCain’s office says that McCain, who has been undergoing treatment for brain cancer, is hospitalized in stable condition after undergoing surgery for an intestinal infection.

May 22, 2018 – McCain’s memoir, “The Restless Wave: Good Times, Just Causes, Great Fights, and Other Appreciations,” is published.

August 24, 2018 – According to a statement by the McCain family, McCain has made the decision to discontinue medical treatment.

August 25, 2018 – Passes away at the age of 81.

July 7, 2022 – Is awarded the presidential Medal of Freedom by US President Joe Biden.

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