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'Cancer doesn't know what it's up against' — leaders react to McCain's cancer

Learning that Sen. John McCain was diagnosed with brain cancer, political leaders praised his service, and offered prayers and encouraging words about his potential to recover.

"Senator John McCain has always been a fighter," President Donald Trump said. "Melania and I send our thoughts and prayers to Senator McCain, Cindy, and their entire family. Get well soon."

"John McCain is an American hero & one of the bravest fighters I've ever known," wrote former President Barack Obama. "Cancer doesn't know what it's up against. Give it hell, John."

"As he’s shown his entire life, don’t bet against John McCain. Best wishes to him for a swift recovery," wrote former President Bill Clinton.

Former President George H.W. Bush and wife Barbara also voice support for the Arizona senator: "The Hanoi Hilton couldn't break John McCain's spirit many years ago, so Barbara and I know — with confidence — he and his family will meet this latest battle in his singular life of service with courage and determination."

McCain "has always been a warrior. It's who he is. All of us, not as Republicans or Democrats, but as Americans, are behind him," said House Speaker Paul Ryan.

"Just spoke to @SenJohnMcCain. Tough diagnosis, but even tougher man," tweeted Sen. Jeff Flake, McCain's Republican colleague from Arizona.

Related: McCain diagnosed with aggressive, deadly brain cancer

Saying he and his wife are praying for him, Vice President Mike Pence wrote that "cancer picked on the wrong guy. John McCain is a fighter & he'll win this fight too. God bless!"

McCain is "strong — and he will beat this," said former Vice President Joe Biden, writing that "John and I have been friends for 40 years. He's gotten through so much difficulty with so much grace."

McCain is "a hero to our conference and a hero to our country," said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. "He has never shied from a fight and I know that he will face this challenge with the same extraordinary courage that has characterized his life. We all look forward to seeing this American hero again soon."

"John McCain is undoubtedly the toughest man in the United States Senate. He is an American hero and has served our country like few ever will," said Gov. Doug Ducey. "‪Senator McCain has set an example for all Americans in the toughest of fights, in the most difficult circumstances. I have no doubt he'll do it again."

Read more: What happens if McCain resigns?

The GOP senator "is a hero, a patriot and a fighter. I am privileged to call him a friend. Paul & I pray for his recovery and his family," said House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi.

McCain "is one of the bravest men I know — a hero, a warrior, and a survivor," said U.S. Rep. Martha McSally. "He survived the Vietnam War after being shot down then held as a prisoner of war for five and a half years. I am confident he will defeat this foe as well. Senator McCain has been a personal mentor for me. I have been honored to serve alongside him in the Arizona delegation in Congress, and I look forward to continuing to do so. My thoughts are with him and his family, and my prayers are for his health and full recovery."

Former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords tweeted encouragement: "Hang in there @SenJohnMcCain. You're tough! You can beat this. Fight, fight, fight! I am proud to call you my friend."

"John McCain is as tough as they come," tweeted Hillary Clinton. "Thinking of John, Cindy, their wonderful children, & their whole family tonight."

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Cassondra Strande/Cronkite News Servcie

McCain in 2012.