WASHINGTON, April 23 (UPI) -- Sen. John McCain said Friday he was "heartbroken" over the death in combat in Afghanistan of former Arizona State and NFL footballer Pat Tillman.
Tillman, 27, who played four seasons for the Arizona Cardinals, spurned a hefty offer to play for St. Louis and opted to join the Army in response to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on New York and Washington.
Circumstances surrounding Tillman's death were not available. News reports said his family had been told but the Army, in keeping to a policy of not releasing information for 24-hours after next-of-kin notification, declined official comment.
"I am heartbroken today by the news of Pat Tillman's death," McCain said in a news release. "But there is in Pat Tillman's example, in his unexpected choice of duty to his country over the riches and other comforts of celebrity, and in his humility, such an inspiration to all of us to reclaim the essential public-spiritedness of Americans that many of us, in low moments, had worried was no longer our common distinguishing trait."