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Actor Gary Sinise Pays Tribute to Son Who Died: ‘A Man Who Loved His Catholic Faith’…

Actor Gary Sinise Pays Tribute to Son Who Died: ‘A Man Who Loved His Catholic Faith’…

A long battle with cancer didn’t stop Mac Sinise as he poured all of his energy into what he loved most: music and faith.

Catholic actor Gary Sinise took to social media this week to mourn the loss of his son earlier this year following a five-and-a-half-year battle with Chordoma, a rare spinal cancer. 

McCanna Anthony Sinise was diagnosed in 2018 at the same time Sinise’s wife, Moira, was diagnosed with breast cancer. Writing in his post, Sinise said, “The summer of 2018 was a particularly challenging time for our family.”

Sinise worked indefatigably, researching his son’s rare diagnosis and grappling with this new world of cancer while trying to care for his wife and son. “Two cancer patients, mother and son, within two months of each other?” he wrote, calling it a “real punch in the gut.”

Sinise also clung to his Catholic faith. The actor converted in 2010 and has spoken openly about it to EWTN’s Raymond Arroyo, as well as his ongoing commitment to helping the military and veterans. 

Actor Gary Sinise and his son Mac at home.
Actor Gary Sinise and his son Mac at home.

In a touching tribute that has now taken over the internet, Sinise also noted his son’s devout faith, writing: 

“Mac was a man who loved his Catholic faith, and there is no doubt that his strong faith sustained him through the awful 5 ½ year battle with this crippling Chordoma cancer.”

“Like any family experiencing such a loss, we are heartbroken and have been managing as best we can,” the actor wrote about his son. “As parents, it is so difficult losing a child.”

The news was first shared on Instagram through a post by The Gary Sinise Foundation on Tuesday. Beginning with the caption, “In Honor & Memory of McCanna ‘Mac’ Sinise 1990-2024,” the foundation disclosed that on Aug. 8, 2018, he was diagnosed with the very rare cancer, which first appears in the spine and only affects about 300 people annually in the U.S. 

Sinise’s son became the inspiration that drove the work of the nonprofit, as Mac worked for the foundation. “On February 27, 2017, our son Mac joined the team at Gary Sinise Foundation as our Assistant Manager of Education & Outreach,” Sinise wrote on the foundation’s website

Father and son also performed together during some events, as Mac was an exceptional drummer. “He would substitute for my drummer, Danny Gottlieb, when Danny was unavailable to play our Lt. Dan Band shows. Those were some great times, father and son rockin’ out together for the troops,” Sinise reminisced. 

Mac did undergo an operation to remove the tumor; but in May of 2019, the cancer came back more aggressively. “The cancer fight was getting harder, but throughout most of 2019 he was still able to come to the GSF office, until a third spine surgery in November of that year,” Sinise wrote. One of the last tasks Mac took on was launching the Gary Sinise Foundation podcast. 

But Mac didn’t stop there. As Sinise recollected, his son was a graduate of the USC Thornton School of Music and loved playing drums and composing. Although he was paralyzed from the waist down, Mac worked with his father’s band to bring to life a song he had written called Arctic Circles. Working from his room or from his hospital bed, he ultimately produced the song with the band, and another one, while playing the harmonica, as, physically, he was no longer able to play the drums. 

The album, Mac Sinise: Resurrection and Revival, will be finished and available soon. If you would like to pre-order the album, click here.
As Gary Sinise writes in the tribute: “The album, ‘Mac Sinise: Resurrection and Revival’ will be finished and available soon.”(Photo: Courtesy photo)

“Both these pieces of music began a collaboration that expanded to a vision Mac had of doing an entire album of music entitled Resurrection & Revival, with a theme of bringing something that was old or unfinished back to life,” Sinise shared. 

“Mac celebrated his 33rd birthday. He especially wanted to share it with my band. It was a very special day for him, and he asked me to play bass on one of the tunes, a cover of the old American folk song ‘Red River Valley,’ with him playing harmonica. It is a song his mother used to sing to him and his sisters when they were little. That day was indeed a special day for the two of us.”

Sadly, his son died on Jan. 5, 2024, at 3:25 p.m. He was laid to rest on Jan. 23.

“Our familys cancer fight lasted for 5 ½ years, and it became more and more challenging as time went on,” Sinise said, adding, “While our hearts ache at missing him, we are comforted in knowing that Mac is no longer struggling, and inspired and moved by how he managed it.”

“He fought an uphill battle against a cancer that has no cure, but he never quit trying. Mac loved movies, and we always told him he reminded us of the soldier at the end of the extraordinary film ‘1917,’ running through the battlefield, bombs going off all around him, knocking him down one after the other, yet he keeps getting back up, refusing to quit and keeps running forward.”

“I am so blessed, fortunate, and proud to be his dad,” Sinise added.

As Sinise captures so poignantly, we all have been touched in some way by those who have lived through cancer or lost someone to this crippling illness, let alone the terrible reality of losing a child in this way. So we all join in mourning the loss of Mac and pray for the Sinise family. May we learn from this young witness, who poured out his energy and his heart, guided by the strong love he knew from his own family and his Father in Heaven. 

Let us also cling to the words of St. Augustine in Mac’s favorite quote, according to his father:

“You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.”

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