John McCain has died after being diagnosed with brain cancer last year. McCain was married to his wife, Cindy, for nearly 40 years. McCain is survived by his seven children, five grandchildren, and his 106-year-old mother, Roberta. His father, John S. McCain Jr., died in 1981.
McCain’s family members will be attending his upcoming funeral arrangements, beginning on Friday, August 31.
“The late senator will lie in state at the United States Capitol on Friday,” according to CNN. The following day, a memorial service will be held at National Cathedral in Washington. On Sunday, a private memorial service will be held at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. Senator McCain will be buried at the academy’s cemetery shortly thereafter.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. His Mom, Roberta, Is Still Alive & Was Always His Biggest Supporter
John McCain’s mother, Roberta, is 106 years old. Throughout her son’s life, she has been his biggest supporter. Although she had known that her son was very ill, she is understandably having a hard time coping with the loss and with having to bury her child.
“Roberta was his biggest supporter and the leader of his fan club. She was incredibly proud of him. His mommy loved him. He knew that,” a source close to the McCain family told People Magazine. “She is all there, mentally, and is still going strong at 106. She outlived her 81-year-old son. That tells you a lot. But it’s a tough blow to bury your child,” the source added.
Roberta had a twin sister named Rowena Wright Willis. Rowena died on August 6, 2011, at age 99.
“She was remembered by all that met her. She kept her remarkable beauty throughout her life. All that knew her will miss her,” her obituary read.
At age 20, she married John McCain’s father, John Sidney McCain Jr. According to the New York Times, the two eloped to Tijuana.
2. His Dad Died in 1981 After Suffering a Heart Attack
John Sidney “Jack” McCain Jr. was born on January 17, 1911. He grew up in Washington, D.C., and graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy.
He was a United States Navy admiral, who served the country from the 1940s through the 1970s. In Vietnam, McCain served as Commander-in-Chief, Pacific Command (CINCPAC), from 1968 to 1972. He retired from the Navy in 1972.
Jack McCain died on March 22, 1981, after suffering a heart attack. According to Newsweek, First Lady Nancy Reagan and Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger attended his funeral.
“Life is run by poker players, not the systems analysts. It’s one of the most forgotten, then relearned foreign-policy axioms in history. If you keep backing away because you’re afraid of what might happen to you—and you keep backing away and backing away—what you were afraid of in the first place is going to happen to you,” the admiral was quoted as saying by his son (John McCain’s brother) Joe at the funeral.
Jack McCain was buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
3. He Is Survived by 7 Children & 5 Grandchildren
Senator John McCain’s life was filled with family and love. He was a proud dad to seven kids.
John McCain adopted his eldest sons, Andrew and Doug, after he married their mom, Carol Shepp. Their dad was Shepp’s ex-husband, Alasdair E. Swanson. John and Carol later welcomed their daughter, Sidney. The couple split in 1980.
A short while later, John met his wife, Cindy. He and Cindy had three children together; Meghan, Jack, and Jimmy. They also adopted a child from Bangladesh named Bridget.
Meghan McCain is, perhaps, the most well-known of the McCain children. She is a former Fox News contributor, and is currently a co-host on The View. The 33-year-old is married to Ben Domenech. Below is the message that Meghan tweeted after her dad’s death.
John “Jack” McCain IV, 31, is a Navy lieutenant and helicopter pilot. He is the oldest son of John and Cindy McCain. Jack and his wife, Renee, have one son together, John S. McCain V.
Jimmy McCain was also in the U.S. military, following in the footsteps of his father and his older brother. As a Marine, he served a tour in Iraq. He married his wife, Holly, in 2016.
John McCain is also survived by his five grandchildren. The youngest, John McCain, was born in 2016 to John’s son, Jack and his wife, Renee. Caroline and Sheldon McCain are Doug McCain’s kids, and Margaret and Andrew are Andrew McCain’s kids.
4. He Met His Wife Cindy in 1980 & They Were 17 Years Apart in Age
John McCain met his second wife, Cindy, at a cocktail party in Hawaii back in 1979. At the time, he was still legally married to his first wife, Carol Shepp McCain, but the two were separated.
“Schmaltzy as it sounds, it was love at first sight,” John McCain told Larry King during an interview back in 2002. There was a 17-year age difference between John and Cindy, which is something they tried to cover up when they first started dating.
“He made himself younger, and I made myself older, of course,” Cindy once told Ryan Seacrest. “In Arizona when you apply for a marriage license, it’s published in the newspaper. Of course when they published the application, we both found out together our true ages. It didn’t matter anyway. I felt like he wouldn’t be interested in someone as young as me – and he felt I wouldn’t be interested in someone that was older, like he was. So it was for true love that we did it. And it’s been a funny joke for our kids ever since,” she added.
John and Cindy McCain exemplified the bond between a husband and a wife. In fact, those who knew them best simply couldn’t deny how in tune with one another the couple had been.
“The bond between them is just incredible,” family friend Betsey Bayless told People Magazine in 2008.
Cindy McCain sent out the following tweet after her husband passed away.
5. His Grandfather Was in the Navy
John Sidney McCain Sr. was nicknamed “Slew.” He became a four-star admiral in the U.S. Navy after graduating from the U.S. Naval Academy. As previously reported by Heavy, “Senator McCain looked up to his grandfather and wrote about him extensively in his memoir, Faith of My Fathers.”
In the early 1900s, McCain was onboard the Great White Fleet commissioned by President Teddy Roosevelt. Toward the end of his time with the fleet, he sailed on the U.S.S. Connecticut.
“McCain served aboard the San Diego for the majority of his time in WWI. The armored cruiser was responsible for escorting other ships through the first leg of the journey to Europe,” Heavy previously reported.
He went on to serve the United States in WWII, taking on the title of Rear Admiral in February of 1941.
He died at the age of 61, just one day after returning home from WWII.