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Former US presidents Barack Obama, George W Bush to speak at funeral of Senator John McCain

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Former US presidents Barack Obama (left) and George W Bush (right) are expected to speak at the funeral of Arizona Senator John McCain, who died on Saturday at the age of 81 after a battle with brain cancer.

[WASHINGTON] Former US presidents Barack Obama and George W Bush are expected to speak at the funeral of Arizona Senator John McCain, who died on Saturday at the age of 81 after a battle with brain cancer.

Mr McCain had requested that his former White House rivals, who defeated him in both of his presidential runs, speak at his funeral. The White House lowered flags to half-staff on Sunday in honour of Mr McCain.

Mr McCain's office has not released a full outline of his memorial services, but friends and advisers have said they expect that there will be services in Phoenix and then Washington, followed by a private burial at the cemetery on the grounds of the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, on Sunday.

The memorial service in Phoenix will take place at the North Phoenix Baptist Church on Wednesday, followed by a funeral nearby on Thursday.

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The funeral procession will then head to Washington, with time provided for the public to pay their respects to Mr McCain at the Capitol Rotunda. The next day, the procession will pass the Vietnam Veterans' Memorial and head to a funeral at Washington National Cathedral.

Mr McCain's family had asked before the senator's death that US President Donald Trump not attend the funeral services. Vice-President Mike Pence is likely to attend.

In his book The Restless Wave, which was published in May, Mr McCain said he would be buried close to his classmate Charles Larson, the late admiral who commanded the Pacific fleet and later served as superintendent of the Naval Academy.

WP