War hero John McCain, who devoted his life to public service and fought passionately for immigration reform, died Saturday at age 81.

For the past 13 months the six-term Republican senator from Arizona who ran twice for president of the United States fought gallantly against a deadly form of brain cancer known as glioblastoma.

During the Vietnam War McCain endured five years as a prisoner of war and was tortured by the Viet Cong. He had the chance to return home during those five years but refused to do so until all the other prisoners were released.

U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, a close friend, said: “America and Freedom have lost one her greatest champions.”

Former Vice President Joe Biden said: “John McCain’s life is proof that some truths are timeless. Character. Courage. Integrity. Honor.”

Asked how he would like to be remembered, McCain once told NBC News senior correspondent Tom Brokaw: “He served his country, that is what I would like to see; he served his country, hopefully with the word honor on it.”

McCain died at 4:28 p.m. MST, Saturday. his office announced. His wife Cindy and other family members were with him.

Click here to read an obituary by columnist Karen Tumulty in the Washington Post.