Gary Sinise writes heartbreaking tribute to son, 33, who has died from rare cancer

Gary Sinise (Getty Images)
Gary Sinise (Getty Images)

Forrest Gump star Gary Sinise has announced the death of his son, McCanna “Mac” Anthony Sinise, who was 33.

Mac, a multi-instrumentalist musician, died on 5 January following a years-long battle with the rare spinal cancer Chordoma.

Sinise shared a lengthy tribute to his son on his foundation’s website, announcing that his son had recently completed work on his album Resurrection & Revival.

“The week the album went to press, Mac lost his battle with cancer,” the actor, 68, wrote.

“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. My heart goes out to all who have suffered a similar loss, and to anyone who has lost a loved one. We’ve all experienced it in some way.”

He continued: “Over the years I have met so many families of our fallen heroes. It’s heartbreaking, and it’s just damn hard. Our family’s cancer fight lasted for 5 and a half years, and it became more and more challenging as time went on. 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.

Gary Sinise (Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
Gary Sinise (Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

“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.”

As Sinise explains in the post, Chordoma affects, on average, only 300 people in the US per year. “In 70 per cent of the cases the initial tumor can be removed, and it is cured. But in 30 per cent of the cases, perhaps about 90 people per year, the cancer returns,” he said.

Mac underwent two spinal surgeries but the Chordoma had returned by May 2019. “This began a long battle that disabled him more and more as time went on,” Sinise wrote.

Alongside his own projects, Mac served as drummer in his father’s band, the Lt. Dan Band, named after his Forrest Gump character. Best known for playing the commanding officer of Tom Hanks’s titular character in the 1994 classic, Sinise is also known for his roles in Of Mice and Men (1992), Apollo 13 (1995), Ransom (1996) and The Green Mile (1999).

Resurrection & Revival is currently available for pre-order with proceeds going to the Gary Sinise Foundation, which supports military veterans.

Read Sinise’s tribute to his son in full here.