‘I Am So Blessed, Fortunate, And Proud’: Gary Sinise Offers Tribute To His Late Son After Cancer Battle

Actor Gary Sinise paid an emotional tribute to his late son, McKenna Anthony "Mac" Sinise, nearly two months after his death from chordoma, an extremely rare cancer that attacks the spinal cord.

The "Forrest Gump" actor started 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 noted Mac's love of music and his talent for drumming, which sometimes took him on the road with Sinise's Lieutenant Dan Band.

But just a year after Mac joined the foundation, both she and her mother Moira Sinise were diagnosed with cancer — she had stage 3 breast cancer, and he had chordoma — just two months apart.

"What was going on? What is chordoma? I had never heard of it. And two cancer patients, mother and son, within two months of each other? A real punch in the gut," Sinise wrote, saying That he immediately went into research mode to learn everything he could. And while Moira recovered and has since been cancer-free, 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 composed years earlier in college, titled "Arctic Circles", with the help of his former classmate Oliver Schnee and two Lieutenant Dan Band members – pianists. Started writing. Ben Lewis and violinist Dan Myers. The piece was ultimately recorded at Sunset Sound in Los Angeles in July 2023.

“Music was so deeply in his heart that he was no longer able to play the drums, Mac's mother Moira suggested he take up a harmonica, which he did, and he began teaching himself to play. I have a dear friend, Medal of Honor recipient Sammy L. Davis, who plays harmonica, tells the story of learning to play 'Shenandoah' in the jungles of Vietnam," Sinise continued – and Mac recorded that, too.

Sinise continued, "These two pieces of music began a collaboration that expanded to Mac's vision of creating an entire album of music called Resurrection and Revival, the theme of bringing back something that was old or incomplete. Was."

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

“Like any family that experiences such a loss, we are grieving and we are managing as best we can. As a parent, losing a child is very difficult,'' Sinise wrote, adding that he has seen a lot of loss over the years working with the families of fallen heroes. "It's heartbreaking, and it's very difficult."

He compared his son's more than five-year-long fight to a war scene from the movie "1917".

"Mac loved movies, and we always told him that he reminded us of that soldier at the end of the extraordinary film 1917, who was running across the battlefield, bombs falling all around him, one after another hitting him Getting knocked down, yet he keeps coming back up, refusing to give up and keeps running forward.

Sinise shared a favorite quote of Mac's from St. Augustine, saying, "Mac was a man who loved his Catholic faith, and there is no doubt that his strong faith helped him survive this serious chordoma cancer for five and a half years." Provided support in the terrible battle of the year." “Lord, you have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.”

"I am very blessed, fortunate and proud to be their father," he said.

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