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Arizona sports teams, athletes react to death of Sen. John McCain

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., applauds during the break in the seventh inning of a baseball game between the Washington Nationals and Arizona Diamondbacks in Washington, Wednesday, May 3, 2017. The Nationals won 3-2. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Following the news that longtime Arizona senator and Vietnam War veteran John McCain passed away on Saturday, teams and athletes around the state offered their thoughts.

McCain was 81.

The news of his passing came more than a year after the news that he was diagnosed with glioblastoma, the most aggressive form of cancer that begins in the brain.

McCain spent more than three decades in Congress and ran for president twice. He was also a pilot in the U.S. Navy and was taken captive as a prisoner of war in Vietnam.

McCain regularly made his fandom of the Arizona Diamondbacks known, and the D-backs reacted on Twitter:

The D-backs gave a tribute to McCain on the big screen during the game against the Seattle Mariners on Saturday, to which the crowd gave a standing ovation.

After the game, manager Torey Lovullo paid his respects to the senator and veteran.

“I had a couple of interaction with him,” Lovullo said. He was a tremendous man, he was a tremendous leader. He represented the state of Arizona proudly and he’s going to be missed.”

Other teams and athletes chimed in as well:

ASU football head coach Herm Edwards spoke about McCain after the team’s practice Saturday.

Edwards was born on an army base and the son of a World War II veteran, according to Kansas City Star.

“I understand the discipline and the things that go along about being a service person and protecting our freedoms,” Edwards said. “My father told me a long time ago, our freedoms aren’t free, there’s people making sacrifices every day.”

He praised the veteran’s stature and the way McCain handled the 2008 election with civility and grace.

“I never met him personally, but from afar respected the man for what he stood for and who he was,” Edwards said. “He truly is an American hero, there’s no doubt about it … He is a guy that brings people together and that’s a sad loss for our country.”

Arizona Cardinals president and CEO Michael Bidwill spoke about McCain on 98.7 FM Arizona Sports Station prior to the team’s preseason game against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday.

He spoke for several minutes about the senator, but among the things Bidwill said:

“The world was a better place with John McCain. And it wasn’t just Arizona, it wasn’t just the United States, but the world was a better place with John McCain because he had the courage, the grit, the understanding of the issues to stand up for the right thing.”

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