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Obama calls McCain, diagnosed with brain cancer, 'one of the bravest fighters I've ever known'

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Posted at 8:20 PM, Jul 19, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-20 00:43:37-04

Arizona Sen. John McCain was diagnosed with brain cancer last week when surgeons attempting to remove a blood clot discovered a cancerous tumor, according to a statement released by his office Wednesday evening. 

The tumor was a glioblastoma, according to the statement -- a growth the Journal of Neuro-Oncology considers one of the most aggressive and fastest-growing brain cancers.  Although it was successfully removed, the 80-year-old Republican will need additional treatment to ensure he is cancer-free.

“The senator and his family are reviewing further treatment options with his Mayo Clinic care team,” the statement read. “Treatment options may include a combination of chemotherapy and radiation.”

McCain, a one-time Republican nominee for president who has previously been treated for skin cancer, is in otherwise good health and was said by spokesperson Julie Tarallo as being “in good spirits and recovering comfortably at home with his family."

The statement ended with an expression of gratitude toward McCain’s family and medical care team.

“He is grateful to the doctors and staff at Mayo Clinic for their outstanding care, and is confident that any future treatment will be effective,” the statement said.

McCain's daughter, Meghan McCain, posted on Twitter shortly after the senator's team revealed his condition to CNN's Sanjay Gupta.

“If we could ask anything of anyone now, it would be the prayers of those of you who understand this all too well,” she wrote. “We would be so grateful for them."

Other politicians, including former president Barack Obama, Kentucky. Sen Mitch McConnell and President Donald Trump chimed in with well-wishes later in the evening.

"John McCain is an American hero & one of the bravest fighters I've ever known," tweeted Obama, who defeated McCain in the 2008 presidential election. "Cancer doesn't know what it's up against. Give it hell, John."

McConnell, who delayed a vote on the ill-fated Better Care Reconciliation Act because of McCain's surgery, said in a statement he was praying for the McCain family and saluting the "extraordinary courage" the senator had displayed throughout his life in public service -- first in the Navy, then as a politician.

And Trump, who feuded bitterly with made widely rebuked comments about McCain during his campaign for the presidency -- chief among them a direct remark that the ex-POW was "not a war hero" and that Trump preferred soldiers who weren't captured -- released one of the briefest statements. Unlike Obama and McConnell, he still didn't call McCain a hero.

"Senator McCain has always been a fighter," it read. "Melania and I send our thoughts and prayers to Senator McCain, Cindy and their entire family. Get well soon."