Cindy McCain (left), wife of then-presidential hopeful Sen. John McCain, used a cheetah hand puppet to make her husband laugh in 2008 as they rode the “Straight Talk Express” campaign bus. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)

Cindy McCain (left), wife of then-presidential hopeful Sen. John McCain, used a cheetah hand puppet to make her husband laugh in 2008 as they rode the “Straight Talk Express” campaign bus. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)

Washington members of Congress celebrate and mourn McCain

Maria Cantwell, Patty Murray, Dave Reichert and others shared condolences and remembrances.

Sen. John McCain was a “giant” and a “hero” to his former Washington, D.C., colleagues representing Washington state.

The 35-year politician, Vietnam War veteran and prisoner of war, and former Republican presidential candidate died Saturday from brain cancer. He was 81.

His death drew condolences and remembrances from political allies and opponents alike. That included both of Washington’s Democratic senators, who remembered his public service.

“The world lost a giant tonight,” Patty Murray said in a news release. “Perhaps no figure in my lifetime better represents someone so dedicated to his country than John McCain, who redefined what it meant to serve and who will always be a role model for respect, courage and the duty to something greater than oneself.”

Maria Cantwell echoed those sentiments.

“He had a major impact on the discourse of many issues discussed in the United States Senate,” she said in a prepared statement. “From campaign finance reform and trade to international policy and, most recently, protecting health care, his impact will long be remembered. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends.”

The Washington State GOP shared its well wishes to the senator, whom they called, “a patriot and true American hero,” and his family.

Rep. Dave Reichert, a Republican, recalled McCain’s nearly lifelong devotion to the United States.

“Today, we lost a true American hero,” he said in a released statement. “Senator John McCain dedicated his life to serving this great country. From his military service in the United States Navy, representing Arizona in the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate, to running for president in 2008, Senator McCain’s record of public service will be remembered for generations.”

Rep. Suzan Delbene, a Democrat, also was struck by his death.

“Saddened by the passing of Senator John McCain — a patriot and an American hero,” she wrote on Twitter. “His courage, sacrifice and devotion to country are an inspiration to generations.”

Plans for his funeral include lying in state in the Arizona Capitol and the U.S. Capitol Rotunda this week. Then he will be buried at a private service in Annapolis, Maryland.

Ben Watanabe:; 425-339-3037; Twitter @benwatanabe.

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