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Arizona, national leaders react to Sen. John McCain's death

"America and Freedom have lost one of her greatest champions," tweeted Sen. Lindsey Graham, one of McCain's closest friends in Congress. "And I've lost one of my dearest friends and mentors."

Leaders from across the state of Arizona and the country released statements showing their support and expressing their condolences for the McCain family, after the news that Sen. John McCain had died was released Saturday.

Pres. Trump, who had been silent after McCain's announcement on Friday, said his sympathies went out to the family.

One of McCain's closest friends in Congress, Lindsey Graham, tweeted shortly after the news became public, writing in part, "America and Freedom have lost one of her greatest champions."

Sen. Jeff Flake, Arizona's other senator, wrote that "words cannot express the sorrow I feel."

Gov. Doug Ducey called McCain a true American hero.

"He was a giant. An icon. An American hero. But here at home, we were most proud to call him a fellow Arizonan. Like so many of us, he was not born here, but his spirit, service and fierce independence shaped the state with which he became synonymous."

Read his full statement below.

Speaker Paul Ryan also called McCain a giant. "He will always be listed among freedom's most gallant and faithful servants."

Vice President Mike Pence sent his deepest condolences to Cindy and the McCain family.

Sen. Susan Collins is remembering John McCain's momentous vote against their party's effort to repeal the Obama-era health law.

The Maine Republican tells CNN's "State of the Union" that she and GOP colleague Lisa Murkowski of Alaska - both repeal opponents - spoke to McCain before the July 2017 vote because they knew he was struggling with the decision.

Collins says he pointed to them and said, "You two are right!"

Collins says Vice President Mike Pence was waiting to speak to McCain next, but she knew McCain's "no" decision would hold.

She says, "Once John McCain made up his mind about something, there was no shaking him."

McCain later dramatically held up his hand and flicked his thumb down, killing the measure.

President Barack Obama released a statement. McCain ran against Obama in the 2008 Presidential Election. “… All of us can aspire to the courage to put the greater good above our own. At John’s best, he showed us what that means. And for that, we are all in his debt," Obama's statement read.

Former President George W. Bush released a statement calling McCain a friend he will deeply miss.

Three of the Arizona GOP senate candidates vying for Sen. Flake's seat tweeted condolences.

Martha McSally:

Kelli Ward:

Kyrsten Sinema:

President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hilary Clinton released a statement, calling his service "heroic."

"He frequently put partisanship aside to do what he thought was best for the country, and was never afraid to break the mold if it was the right thing to do."

Retired Gen. David Petraeus is honoring Sen. John McCain as a distinguished veteran who always "had the backs" of military service members.

Petraeus, a former CIA director who previously oversaw coalition forces in Iraq, tells ABC's "This Week" that McCain was committed to ensuring that those who fought the wars after Sept. 11 "had what was needed to prevail."

He says McCain was also very forthright in standing up against torture, working to limit the enhanced interrogation of detainees.

Petraeus notes that an extraordinary moment of McCain's military career was when he was a prisoner of war in Vietnam and was offered freedom by his captors, but "he would not break faith with his fellow prisoners."

Captain Mark Kelly, retired U.S. Navy combat veteran and former NASA Astronaut, released a statement. In part, it read:

“John McCain was an iconic figure, so singular and memorable I imagined he might live forever. In my community of men and women known as Naval Aviators, he was larger than life. I knew who John McCain was since I first even allowed myself to imagine being a pilot. Everyone knows launching and landing a jet aircraft from a ship in the middle of the ocean is famously difficult. It takes the word excitement to the next level. But the excitement is only part of it: service – and the willingness to sacrifice – for country is the motivation of every man and woman who does it. John McCain defined service, as a naval aviator and in every role he took on for his country."

Former Arizona Governor Jan Brewer called McCain her friend and a warrior.

Statement from White Mountain Apache Tribal Chairwoman Gwendena Lee-Gatewood:

We are blessed to live in a State, and a world, that has been shaped by the will, the leadership, and the vision of Senator John McCain.

With an unshakable faith in the values of our country and the character of our people, Senator John McCain renewed Arizona’s confidence in the will to do right and work for all people. His optimism, strength, and humility epitomized the American spirit.

Through his courage and determination, he honored his fellow man by honoring his country in giving the highest form of service by serving our Country. The White Mountain Apache Tribe was blessed to know such a person of valor, and his help in moving our Water Rights forward. What a tremendous figure of relentless courage, a fighter of our rights, and most of all a friend to our Tribe.

Senator John McCain has left us, but he has left us stronger and better. We take comfort in the knowledge that he has left us for a better place, the shining city that awaits him. May God Bless Cindy and the McCain children, and comfort them at this time.

Ducey's full statement:

“John McCain is one American who will never be forgotten.

He was a giant. An icon. An American hero. But here at home, we were most proud to call him a fellow Arizonan. Like so many of us, he was not born here, but his spirit, service and fierce independence shaped the state with which he became synonymous.

Angela and I join all Arizonans in praying for Cindy and the entire McCain family during this difficult time and offering our full support.

As we mourn his passing and celebrate his truly phenomenal life, we’re also faced with the void John McCain’s absence leaves in the heart and soul of our nation.

John McCain fought for America every day — from the Navy through Vietnam to the U.S. Senate. He fought for what he thought was right, even when it wasn’t popular. His dogged patriotism and passion for country made him an inspiration, and a model, for all of us.

John McCain was about more than politics. He brought us above partisanship and challenged us to be great.

He once told us, ‘We’re Americans, and we never give up. We never quit. We never hide from history. We make history.’

May his life and legacy continue to inspire us to build a future for this country, and a history for this country, that would make John McCain proud.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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