John McCain and his longtime friend Ted Kennedy were often on the opposite side of the political spectrum when it came to legislation being considered by the U.S. Senate.
But while they had many differences, McCain would come to say, they recognized many similarities in one another’s character and eventually became not only colleagues but great friends.
When McCain, who would have been 82 next week, died on Saturday at his home in Arizona, it was on the ninth anniversary of Kennedy’s death – August 25, 2009.
Not only did both men die on the same day, both died from the same disease, glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer that generally kills within 14 months of a diagnosis.
Kennedy was 77 when he died in 2009. McCain was asked by Kennedy’s family to give a eulogy at the senator’s funeral mass.
McCain remembered his friend that day saying, "When I next saw Ted, ambling down a Senate corridor, he was bellowing laughter, that infectious laugh of his that could wake the dead and cheer up the most beleaguered soul. He was good company. Excellent company. I think I’m going to miss him more than I can say.
"We disagreed on most issues. But I admired his passion for his convictions, his patience with the hard and sometimes dull work of legislating, and his uncanny sense for when differences could be bridged, and his cause advanced by degrees. He was a fierce advocate, and no senator would oppose him in debate without at least a little trepidation, often more than a little. We all listened to him, of course. He was hard to ignore.”