Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald and former Vice President Joe Biden honored Sen. John McCain at a church service in Phoenix on Thursday.

Fitzgerald, who was a personal friend of McCain's, said he was the "authentic American hero."

He said McCain (R-Ariz) inspired him to visit Vietnam and retrace the steps of the retired Navy pilot's gruesome imprisonment.

"I sat in his cell," Fitzgerald said, imagining the "ordeal that my friend survived [which] became all the more real."

He said that while McCain ran for president, Fitzgerald "ran out of bounds" on the football field

"He was the epitome of toughness. I do everything I can to avoid contact," Fitzgerald joked.

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"He cared about the substance of my heart moreso than where I came from," he said. "We will miss the blessing of being in your presence."

Biden remembered his time serving in the Senate with McCain for decades.

"I always thought of John McCain as a brother. We had a lot of family fights," Biden said, adding that McCain often visited his home in Wilmington, Delaware, and they had a great personal relationship outside of the Capitol.

Biden noted that McCain died of the same kind of cancer that killed his son Joseph "Beau" Biden III and the two politicians' mutual friend Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.).

"John's absence is all-consuming," Biden said.

Watch the touching tributes above.

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