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Grant Woods, longtime McCain confidante & former Az Attorney General, dead at 67

Grant Woods, a longtime aide of Sen. John McCain who was Arizona's attorney general for nearly a decade, died Saturday afternoon of a heart attack at age 67. Woods notably broke from the Republican Party over his scorn for Donald Trump, and his name was floated as a Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate.

Woods, an attorney, served as McCain's chief of staff in the 1980s, after the Republican was elected to Congress.

He was Arizona's attorney general for two terms, 1991-1999.

For years, he continued playing a political role, co-chairing Gov. Jan Brewer's successful run for office in 2010. But Trump's appearance in Republican ranks pushed Woods away.

In 2016, Woods endorsed Hillary Clinton in the presidential race, making clear that the longtime Republican operative had broken with his party over its standard-bearer. He endorsed the campaign of Kyrsten Sinema against Martha McSally in the 2018 Senate race, and then Joe Biden in 2020.

In 2020, his name was high on lists of potential Democratic Senate candidates, but he announced that he would not run for that seat.

Woods eulogy for McCain in 2018, which showcased his passionate storytelling, brought him national attention. Woods was the author of a children's book, screenplays, and a novel.

"Arizona honors his life and years of public service," said Gov. Doug Ducey in a press release Saturday.

"Grant was the love of my life. My best friend. My heart is broken. I just cannot believe he is gone. I can’t believe our time together is over. He was the best husband, the best father anyone could have wished for," said his wife, Marlene Galan Woods, in a statement released by the family.

"I am so proud of the man he was, public servant, advocate for the everyday person, lover of music and stories and sports. He made me a better person. I can’t even fathom our lives without him. But we are strong, and a close family and we will work hard to honor his life," she said.

Woods went into private practice as an attorney, but continued to speak out publicly on politics, hosting a radio talk show, and more recently defending the integrity of the 2020 election against conspiracist attacks.

Woods was a founder of the Mesa Education Foundation, Mesa Arts Academy, and the Mesa Boys & Girls Club, which is named for him. He and Marlene were among the founders of the Phoenix Children's Museum.

A graduate of Occidental College and the Arizona State University College of Law, Woods was named as the top state attorney general in the country in 1995, in part because of his lead role in a multi-billion-dollar national settlement with cigarette manufacturers.

He is survived by wife Marlene and five children: Austin, Lauren, Cole, Dylan and Ava.

Funeral arrangements are pending.

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