‘I Am So Blessed, Fortunate, And Proud’: Gary Sinise Offers Tribute To His Late Son After Cancer Battle
WASHINGTON, DC: In this image released on May 28, 2021, Emmy Award-winning actor and humanitarian Gary Sinise hosts the 2021 National Memorial Day Concert in Washington, DC. The National Memorial Day Concert will be broadcast on May 30, 2021. (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Capital Concerts)
Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Capital Concerts

Actor Gary Sinise delivered a glowing tribute to his late son, McCanna Anthony “Mac” Sinise, nearly two months after he died of chordoma, an extremely rare cancer that attacks the spine.

The “Forrest Gump” actor began with Mac’s decision to join the Gary Sinise Foundation — and how proud he was of his son’s desire to work with veterans, first responders, and their families. He also mentioned Mac’s love of music and his talent on the drums, which occasionally put him on the road with Sinise’s Lt. Dan Band.

But just one year after Mac joined the Foundation, both he and his mother Moira Sinise were diagnosed with cancer — her with Stage 3 breast cancer, and him with chordoma — just two months apart.

“What was happening? What is Chordoma? I had never heard of this. And two cancer patients, mother and son, within two months of each other? A real punch in the gut,” Sinise wrote, adding that he immediately went into research mode to learn everything that he could. And while Moira went into remission and has been cancer-free ever since, Mac’s cancer returned and spread.

Despite eventually being paralyzed from the chest down, Mac was able to complete a piece of music he had begun composing in college years earlier, titled “Arctic Circles,” with the help of former classmate Oliver Schnee and two Lt. Dan Band members — pianist Ben Lewis and violinist Dan Myers. The piece was finally recorded in July of 2023 at Sunset Sound in Los Angeles.

“With music so deep in his heart, unable to play drums now, Mac’s mother Moira suggested he get a harmonica, which he did, and he started teaching himself how to play. I have a dear friend, Medal of Honor recipient Sammy L. Davis, who plays harmonica and tells a story of learning to play ‘Shenandoah’ while in the jungles of Vietnam,” Sinise continued — and Mac recorded that as well.

“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 added.

But sadly, Mac would never see the finished product. “The week the album went to press, Mac lost his battle with cancer. He died on January 5, 2024 at 3:25pm, and was laid to rest on January 23rd.”

“Like any family experiencing such a loss, we are heartbroken and have been managing as best we can. As parents, it is so difficult losing a child,” Sinise wrote, adding that he had seen a lot of loss over the years, working with the families of fallen heroes. “It’s heartbreaking, and it’s just damn hard.”


He went on to compare his son’s long battle — more than five years — with a battle scene from the movie “1917.”

“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.”

“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,” Sinise added, sharing a favorite quotation of Mac’s from St. Augustine: “You have made us for yourself oh Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.”

“I am so blessed, fortunate, and proud to be his dad,” he said.

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