Larry Fitzgerald praises John McCain in touching open letter

Christmas is a time of giving, and Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald took some time to thank Sen. John McCain for what he's given to this country as the 81-year-old senator continues his battle with brain cancer.

Fitzgerald, who has built a friendship with the longtime Arizona senator, praised McCain in a lengthy open letter published by Sports Illustrated.

"When I think about Christmas, and I think about Senator McCain, I think of giving," Fitzgerald wrote. "The sacrifices John McCain has made for our country, and especially the men and women he served with in the military, are incredible. As a prisoner of war in Vietnam he missed six Christmases with his family back home and suffered unbelievable hardship."

McCain was diagnosed with a primary glioblastoma, a type of brain tumor, in July.

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John McCain and family through the years
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John McCain and family through the years
Ok one more. @senjohnmccain with me at our first Christmas as a married couple.
@senjohnmccain @zelda.frenchie.1 and our two boys Jack and Jimmy enjoying the morning at the Navy Memorial.
@DBacks game with @meghanmccain and. @senjohnmccain
So many years ago. @meghanmccain @senjohnmccain at her Columbia University graduation.
One of my favorite family photos. An oldie but a goody! @senjohnmccain @meghanmccain
Thank all of you for the wonderful thoughts. @senjohnmccain is doing well. We as a family will face the next hurdle together. One thing I do know is he is the toughest person I know. He is my hero and I love him with all my heart.
The highlight of my day. ❤️🍴🇺🇸
My rock @cindymccain ❤️❤️❤️
Happy early birthday Dad - I love you with all my heart. ❤️🇺🇸🌵🎂🍰
After dinner talks with Dad 🌵❤️🇺🇸
Hiking the eclipse with Dad 🌵🌙
To everyone who has sent me and my family such kind words of strength and prayers, thank you from the bottom of my heart, it really has been helping me. We start my fathers last (first round) of radiation and chemotherapy today. This last month has easily been the most challenging and difficult of my life. I come from a long lineage of warriors and I have never been more grateful for the strength and fortitude that has been passed down to me, I am relying on it now more than ever. My natural inclination is always to be open and share my life but at the moment I am still in a place where I just want and need to be around my family and am asking for your understanding and patience. To those of you out there living with #GBM or who have a family member or loved one living with #GBM, you are my absolute heroes. We are in this fight together, sending you all love and light. #FUCKCANCER
Happy Fathers Day to my father @senjohnmccain. This picture is how I always think of you, relaxed, in Arizona, grilling us ribs and listening to Frank Sinatra. Thank you for teaching me how to love life and seize every moment. Thank you for exposing me to the world (it's good and bad) and teaching me about character, conviction and having true grit. Finally thank you for always giving me something to believe in, in a world where it has become increasingly harder to find. I love you with all my heart. 🇺🇸❤️
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Fitzgerald explains while he is not "a political guy," he has developed "so much admiration" for McCain over the years.

The Cardinals wide receiver goes on to say how he even traveled to Vietnam in 2013 and visited the exact jail cell McCain was held in as a prisoner of war for five-and-a-half years.

Fitzgerald ended his tribute acknowledging McCain has a difficult road ahead of him as he continues his battle with brain cancer, but hopes the senator lives "another 20 years."

"Today, my friend, Senator John McCain, again finds himself in a battle. This time it's with cancer, and the treatment he's undergoing is exhausting," Fitzgerald wrote. "I'll wish him a Merry Christmas today, and I pray he lives another 20 years."

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Larry Fitzgerald through his career
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Larry Fitzgerald through his career
GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 24: Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald #11 of the Arizona Cardinals breaks from the line during the first half of the NFL game against the New York Giants at the University of Phoenix Stadium on December 24, 2017 in Glendale, Arizona. The Cardinals defeated the Giants 23-0. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - OCTOBER 11: Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald #1 of the University of Pittsburgh Panthers looks on from the sideline during a college football game against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Heinz Field on October 11, 2003 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Notre Dame defeated the Pitt Panthers 20-14. (Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images)
Heisman Trophy finalist Larry Fitzgerald, wide receiver from Pittsburgh 69th Annual Heisman Memorial Trophy Announcement 2003 Yale Club New York City, New York United States December 13, 2003 (Photo by Paul Hawthorne/WireImage)
The Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald strikes a pose on the runway to show the new uniforms for the 2005/2006 season in Phoenix, Arizona on April 20, 2005. (Photo by Gene Lower/Getty Images)
Arizona receiver Larry Fitzgerald had 129 receiving yards as the Arizona Cardinals defeated the San Francisco 49ers by a score of 17 to 10 at Monster Park, San Francisco, California, December 4, 2005. (Photo by Robert B. Stanton/NFLPhotoLibrary)
Arizona Cardinals wide reciver Larry Fitzgerald signs an autograph after training camp practice at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Arizona on August 2, 2006. (Photo by Gene Lower/Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WA - DECEMBER 09: Larry Fitzgerald #11 of the Arizona Cardinals runs through the tackle during a game against the Seattle Seahawks on December 9, 2007 at the Centurylink Field Stadium in Seattle, Washington.(Photo by Sporting News via Getty Images)
PHOENIX - JANUARY 28: Larry Fitzgerald of the Arizona Cardinals during the VISA 'Financial Football' press conference at the Phoenix Convention Center on January 28, 2008 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Domenic Centofanti/Getty Images for VISA)
Cardinals Larry Fitzgerald celebrates after his touchdown catch in the fourth quarter as the Pittsburgh Steelers face the Arizona Cardinals in Super Bowl XLIII at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida, Sunday, February 1, 2009. (Photo by Mark Cornelison/Lexington Herald-Leader/MCT via Getty Images)
PHOENIX - OCTOBER 1: Larry Fitzgerald, wide receiver of the Arizona Cardinals, watches courtside as the Phoenix Mercury host the Indiana Fever in Game two of the WNBA Finals played on October 1, 2009 at U.S. Airways Center in Phoenix, Arizona. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2009 NBAE (Photo by Barry Gossage/NBAE via Getty Images)
3 October 2010 : Arizona Cardinals Larry Fitzgerald hair covers his name on his jersey during a game against the San Diego Chargers at the Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, CA. (Photo by Matt A. Brown/Icon SMI/Icon Sport Media via Getty Images)
PHOENIX, AZ - MARCH 24: Honoree Larry Fitzgerald speaks onstage during Muhammad Ali's Celebrity Fight Night XVIII held at JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa on March 24, 2012 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Mike Moore/Getty Images for CFN)
NFL CHARACTERS UNITE -- 'Interview with Larry Fitzgerald' -- Pictured: Arizona Cardinals Wide Receiver Larry Fitzgerald -- (Photo by: Andy DeLisle/USA Network/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LA - SEPTEMBER 22: Larry Fitzgerald #11 of the Arizona Cardinals works against Jabari Greer #33 of the New Orleans Saints during a game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on September 22, 2013 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Saints defeated the Cardinals 31-7. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
GLENDALE, AZ - AUGUST 24: Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald #11 of the Arizona Cardinals runs off the field following the preseason NFL game against the Cincinnati Bengals at the University of Phoenix Stadium on August 24, 2014 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
GLENDALE, AZ - OCTOBER 12: Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald #11 of the Arizona Cardinals carries the football past free safety E.J. Biggers #30 of the Washington Redskins en route to scoring a 24 yard touchdown reception during the second quarter of the NFL game at the University of Phoenix Stadium on October 12, 2014 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
GLENDALE, AZ - AUGUST 02: Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald #11 of the Arizona Cardinals stands on the field during the team training camp at University of Phoenix Stadium on August 2, 2015 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
GLENDALE, AZ - SEPTEMBER 27: Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald #11 of the Arizona Cardinals runs with the football after a reception against the San Francisco 49ers during the NFL game at the University of Phoenix Stadium on September 27, 2015 in Glendale, Arizona. The Carindals defeated the 49ers 47-7. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 16: Wide receiver Michael Floyd #15 of the Arizona Cardinals celebrates his 9-yard fourth quarter touchdown catch with wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald #11 in the NFC Divisional Playoff Game against the Green Bay Packers at University of Phoenix Stadium on January 16, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
GLENDALE, AZ - SEPTEMBER 11: Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald #11 of the Arizona Cardinals celebrates after catching his 100th career touchdown in the fourth quarter of the NFL game against the New England Patriots at the University of Phoenix Stadium on September 11, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona. The Patriots defeated the Cardinals 23-21. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
GLENDALE, AZ - SEPTEMBER 11: Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald #11 of the Arizona Cardinals celebrates after catching his 100th career touchdown in the fourth quarter of the NFL game against the New England Patriots at the University of Phoenix Stadium on September 11, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona. The Patriots defeated the Cardinals 23-21. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
GLENDALE, AZ - SEPTEMBER 18: Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald #11 of the Arizona Cardinals makes a reception against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the first quarter of the NFL game at the University of Phoenix Stadium on September 18, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NC - OCTOBER 30: Larry Fitzgerald #11 of the Arizona Cardinals runs the ball against the Carolina Panthers in the 4th quarter during the game at Bank of America Stadium on October 30, 2016 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
MIAMI GARDENS, FL - DECEMBER 11: Arizona Cardinals Wide Receiver Larry Fitzgerald (11) on the sidelines during the NFL football game between the Arizona Cardinals and the Miami Dolphins on December 11, 2016, at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, FL. (Photo by Doug Murray/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - FEBRUARY 04: NFL player Larry Fitzgerald attends 6th Annual NFL Honors at Wortham Theater Center on February 4, 2017 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - SEPTEMBER 17: Larry Fitzgerald #11 of the Arizona Cardinals reacts against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium on September 17, 2017 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
GLENDALE, AZ - OCTOBER 15: Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald #11 and running back Adrian Peterson #23 of the Arizona Cardinals celebrate after Fitzgerald scored on a 11 yrad touchdown reception against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the first half of the NFL game at the University of Phoenix Stadium on October 15, 2017 in Glendale, Arizona. The Cardinals defeated the Buccaneers 38-33. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
GLENDALE, AZ - NOVEMBER 26: Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (11) and Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end Calais Campbell (93) trade jerseys after the NFL football game between the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Arizona Cardinals on November 26, 2017 at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Kevin Abele/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 10: Larry Fitzgerald #11 of the Arizona Cardinals makes a reception against Adoree' Jackson #25 of the Tennessee Titans in the second half at University of Phoenix Stadium on December 10, 2017 in Glendale, Arizona. On this play, Fitzgerald surpasses Randy Moss (15,292) for third-most all-time receiving yards. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
LENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 24: Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald #11 of the Arizona Cardinals smiles after scoring a touchdown in the first half of the NFL game against the New York Giants at University of Phoenix Stadium on December 24, 2017 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
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Fitzgerald was named Co-Walter Payton Man of the Year last season, alongside Eli Manning. Fitzgerald was honored for his charitable and community work, most notably with his own First Down Foundation and the Carol Fitzgerald Memorial Fund, named after his mother who died of breast cancer in 2016.

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