Senator John McCain and two of his staffers with ICT Chairman Richard Gere during their meeting in March 2017. (Photo: @SenJohnMcCain)

Senator John McCain, a sincere supporter of the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan people, passed away on August 24, 2018. He was 81.

“I offer my condolences to you and all the members of your family at this sad time,” the Dalai Lama wrote in a message to Mrs. Cindy McCain, the Senator’s widow.

“I had the pleasure of meeting your husband in 2008 in Aspen after long admiring his many years of dedicated service to the American people,” the Dalai Lama added. “I appreciated his genuine concern for democracy, human rights and the environment in general and particularly in Tibet, for which I remain grateful.”

Senator McCain always remained concerned about the plight of the Tibetan people and supported many of the initiatives in the US Congress aimed at finding a resolution to the Tibetan issue.

In 2008, in the wake of the Chinese authorities’ violent crackdown against the Tibetans, Senator McCain issued a strong statement on March 18, 2008, “The unfolding tragedy in Tibet should draw the attention of the entire world. I deplore the violent crackdown by Chinese authorities and the continuing oppression in Tibet of those merely wishing to practice their faith and preserve their culture and heritage. I have listened carefully to the Dalai Lama and am convinced he is a man of peace who reflects the hopes and aspirations of Tibetans. I urge the government of the People’s Republic of China to address the root causes of unrest in Tibet by opening a genuine dialogue with His Holiness, the Dalai Lama.”

The Senator had met the Dalai Lama several times, including once in Aspen, Colorado, in 2008 when he was the Republican Presidential nominee. He also met with the President of the Central Tibetan Administration, Dr. Lobsang Sangay.

In March 2017, just four months before he underwent a surgery for his brain cancer, Senator McCain took the time to meet with International Campaign for Tibet Chairman Richard Gere to see how he could help with the Trump Administration’s policies on Tibet. McCain tweeted on March 2, 2017: “Enjoyed meeting with Richard Gere yesterday to talk about issues facing Tibet.”

Senator McCain is survived by his wife, Cindy McCain, and seven children.