(CBSDFW.COM) – Texas political figures reacted to the death of Republican U.S. Sen. John McCain on Saturday, mourning the loss of a beloved senator and war veteran.

McCain passed away after a battle with brain cancer Saturday afternoon surrounded by family, his office announced. He was 81.

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Sen. John McCain (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Gov. Greg Abbott started his statement by saying “John McCain was born to lead” and calling him “an American warrior.” Abbott praised his fighting spirit and love for his country.

“John McCain was born to lead. Throughout his military career, his years of cruel imprisonment and torture as a prisoner of war, his decades of dedicated service in Congress, and his quest as a candidate for the highest office, his fighting spirit could not be broken. Though he often could have chosen the easier path in life, John McCain would never surrender his love of country. He was an American warrior. Cecilia and I ask the people of Texas and of his beloved nation to join us in prayer as we mourn the loss of a true statesman.”

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Texas Sen. Ted Cruz called McCain a “patriot” and an “extraordinary American war hero,” recalling the senator’s time in the Navy and being a prisoner of war. He said the country lost “a great public servant.”

“Senator John McCain was a patriot, and an extraordinary American war hero. Born into a storied Navy family, he spent his entire life in service to his country, including 22 years in the Navy, five and a half of which were spent under the boots of North Vietnamese communists in a Hanoi prison. First elected to Congress during the Reagan Revolution, he championed the strong national defense that he knew would help ensure the survival of freedom and liberty across the globe. He did things his way, and conducted two campaigns for President of the United States with honor and integrity. Today, the State of Arizona, and our entire nation, have lost a great public servant. He was larger than life. Although he and I sometimes disagreed, I was deeply privileged to serve with him and proud to call him a friend. Heidi and I send our heartfelt thoughts and prayers to Cindy, and to the entire McCain family, as they grieve the loss of a loving husband, father, and grandfather. May he rest in peace.”

Former President George W. Bush delivered a statement from Maine, saying McCain “was a man of deep conviction and a patriot of the highest order.” He said he’ll “deeply miss” his friend.

“Some lives are so vivid, it is difficult to imagine them ended. Some voices are so vibrant, it is hard to think of them stilled. John McCain was a man of deep conviction and a patriot of the highest order. He was a public servant in the finest traditions of our country. And to me, he was a friend whom I’ll deeply miss. Laura and I send our heartfelt sympathies to Cindy and the entire McCain family, and our thanks to God for the life of John McCain.”

Through two tweets, the Texas GOP gave a statement to mourn the death of the senator and former Republican presidential nominee. The Republican Party of Texas described McCain’s military service and time as a prisoner of war as “heroic.”

“We lost a hero today. We are saddened by the passing of longtime U.S. Senator, and former Republican nominee for President, John McCain. Senator McCain was steadfast in his beliefs and a powerful representative for the people of Arizona. His distinguished military service and fortitude during his time as a prisoner of war were heroic. His patriotic commitment to our country and the cause of freedom will be missed. Our hearts and prayers go out to his family during this difficult time.”

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