Devastated Gary Sinise Grieves The Unexpected Passing Of His 33-Year-Old Son

Gary Sinise is an acclaimed American actor, director, musician, and philanthropist, born on March 17, 1955, in Blue Island, Illinois. Sinise has had a diverse acting career spanning several decades, with a wide range of roles in film, television and theater that have showcased his versatility and depth as an actor.

However, it was his role as Lieutenant Dan Taylor in the 1994 film “Forrest Gump” that catapulted Sinise into the national spotlight. His portrayal of the disabled Vietnam War veteran earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor, and the character became one of the most memorable in modern cinema. Sinise’s performance in “ Forrest Gump” was not only a career highlight but also a role that would shape his future philanthropic efforts.

Following “ Forrest Gump,” Sinise continued to take on diverse roles in both film and television. He starred in the film “Apollo 13” and the miniseries “Truman,” for which he won a Golden Globe for his portrayal of Harry S. Truman. Sinise also became known for his role as Detective Mac Taylor in the TV series “CSI: NY,” which he starred in from 2004 to 2013.

Beyond his acting career, Sinise is renowned for his commitment to supporting veterans, active-duty military members, and their families. Motivated by his role in “ Forrest Gump,” he founded the Gary Sinise Foundation in 2011. The foundation provides a range of programs and services, including home modifications for wounded veterans, entertainment for troops and support for children of fallen soldiers. Sinise’s work with veterans has earned him many accolades, including the Presidential Citizens Medal in 2008.

In 1981, Sinise married Moira Harris, an actress he met while they were both working in the theater scene and together they had three children: Sophie, McCanna and Ella Sinise. However, the family faced a devastating loss that left Sinise heartbroken.

Gary Sinise (2015), (Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images Entertainment via Getty Images)

Gary Sinise’s contributions to the arts and his philanthropic efforts have made him a respected and beloved figure. His passion for helping those who serve reflects the depth of his character, both on and off the screen. Gary’s legacy is not only that of a talented actor but also as a dedicated advocate for veterans and a true American patriot.

Gary is also a loving father who suffered through one of the most devastating tragedies that could ever befall a parent: the passing of a child. On Jan. 5, 2024, Gary and his family mourned the loss of his only son, McCanna Sinise, who passed away at the age of 33 after a five-year-long battle with a rare form of cancer called chordoma.

Gary paid tribute to his beloved son both on Instagram and on the Gary Sinise Foundation website, where he posted his beautiful and heartbreaking recollection of his son’s experience. He recalled that 2018 was a difficult year for his family. Not only was McCanna, whom they affectionately called “Mac,” diagnosed with the rare bone cancer that year, but Gary’s wife, Harris, was also diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer. To Gary, the two diagnoses felt like a “real punch in the gut,” but after rounds of chemotherapy and radiation, Harris’ cancer went into remission.

As for McCanna, chordoma proved to be a far more debilitating disease to fight. The rare form of cancer that originates in the spine affects only 300 Americans a year. McCanna underwent surgery to remove the initial tumor in September 2018 but by the next year, scans showed the cancer was still spreading.

As chordoma tumors grow, they can press on the spine, brain and nerves and cause pain and mobility issues. Thus, the cancer left McCanna paralyzed from the chest down.

 

Max Sinise (2008), (John M. Heller/Getty Images Entertainment via Getty Images)

Even as he battled the cancer that had robbed him of his mobility, McCanna continued to pursue his passions. A graduate of the USC Thornton School of Music, McCanna used to play various instruments and compose music. Gary recounted that McCanna even regularly subbed in as the drummer for his band, the Lt. Dan Band. Despite being confined to a wheelchair, Gary said he still had limited use of his right arm and fingers on his left hand. With the help of family and friends, McCanna was able to record an entire album called “Resurrection & Revival,” in which he even played the harmonica.

On Dec. 30, 2023, the Sinises took McCanna to the hospital after he had trouble breathing. They did not know that this would be his last trip there. Gary stayed by his son’s bedside until January 5, 2024, when McCanna passed surrounded by loved ones.

“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,” Gary wrote, adding that he felt “so blessed, fortunate, and proud to be his dad.”

He described McCanna as an “incredible inspiration to those who knew and loved him, he faced his battle with grace, courage, and love,” who “gave his family and friends so much during his 33 years, and he accomplished great things in those final months.” Lastly, Gary wrote:

“We were blessed to have you in our lives as son, brother, and friend…and we will miss you and love you for eternity.”

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