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Gary Sinise's son, McCanna "Mac" Sinise, has died from a rare form of cancer. He was 33.

The Gary Sinise Foundation shared the news on Instagram of Sinise's death on Tuesday, with the caption, "In Honor & Memory of McCanna ‘Mac’ Sinise 1990-2024." In a statement, the foundation said that on August 8, 2018, Mac was diagnosed with a very rare cancer called chordoma. The foundation said chordoma is cancer that originates in the spine and only affects an average of 300 people in the U.S. per year.

In a lengthy tribute to Mac that Sinise shared on his website, the 68-year-old actor revealed that his son died on Jan. 5, 2024, at 3:25 p.m. and was laid to rest on Jan. 23.

"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.

Gary and Mac Sinese

Gary Sinise's son, Mac, died after a battle with a rare form of cancer. (Gary Sinise Foundation)

He continued, "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. Over the years I have met so many families of our fallen heroes. It's heartbreaking, and it's just damn hard."

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"Our family's cancer fight lasted for 5 ? years, and it became more and more challenging as time went on," Sinise added. "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 shared. 

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In his post, Sinise explained that the summer of 2018 was a "particularly challenging time" for his family. The "Forrest Gump" star said his wife, Moira, was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer in June of that year. She underwent surgery to remove lymph nodes and began chemotherapy and radiation treatment.

Two months later, Mac was diagnosed with chordoma. Sinise said he was bewildered at the time since he had never heard of the very rare cancer.

"And two cancer patients, mother and son, within two months of each other? A real punch in the gut," he wrote. "I went online to see what I could find. Chordoma is a one in a million cancer. Originating in the spine, Chordoma affects, on average, only 300 people in the U.S. per year. In 70% of the cases the initial tumor can be removed, and it is cured. But in 30% of the cases, perhaps about 90 people per year, the cancer returns."

Moira went into remission after receiving treatment for months and has since remained cancer-free. In September 2018, Mac underwent surgery to remove the initial tumor, but his cancer returned by May 2019 and was spreading. 

"This began a long battle that disabled him more and more as time went on," Sinise wrote.

Mac went on to have four additional spinal surgeries and continued to receive chemotherapy and radiation treatment. Sinise wrote that eventually the cancer caused Mac to become paralyzed from the chest down, though he "still had limited use of his right arm, and fingers on his left hand."

Sinise recalled that in 2020, Mac stepped down from his position as the assistant manager of education and outreach at the Gary Sinise Foundation to focus on his rehabilitation and recovery as he prepared for his fifth spinal surgery.

A graduate of USC Thorton School of Music, Mac had a passion for drumming, composition and songwriting. However, his disability rendered him unable to continue playing the drums or piano.

gary sinise and son mackenna

Mac died from a rare cancer called chordoma. (Gary Sinise Instagram)

Though Sinise wrote that Mac initially assumed "music was a thing of the past," he said his son became inspired in 2023 to finish a track titled "Arctic Circles" that he had started working on in college.

"Being right-handed, he would strap a stylus to his right hand, and he could punch letters and notes into his phone or iPad. He also had a small keyboard he laid on his hospital bed table that he used to work on his music," Sinise recalled.

Since he could no longer play the piano and the drums, Moira suggested that Mac try playing the harmonica. Mac taught himself to play the instrument and eventually recording himself performing the traditional folk song "Shenandoah" backed up by a string arrangement.

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After working on the two songs, Sinise wrote that Mac envisioned completing a full album titled "Resurrection & Revival," with a "theme of bringing something that was old or unfinished back to life."

In collaboration with his college friend, composer and arranger Oliver Schnee, Mac finished three additional original songs. In November, he held two sessions with Sinise's Lt. Dan Band to record his original tracks and other songs that had special significance to him.

"The week the album went to press, Mac lost his battle with cancer," Sinise wrote.

mac sinise album cover

Mac's new album, "Resurrection & Revival," went to press the same week he died, Sinise wrote. (Gary Sinise Foundation website)

"Our story is not unique," Sinise noted. "No one escapes cancer. It affects us all, as every one of us in this life knows someone, personally or otherwise, who has faced this awful disease. And that summer of 2018, being hit with two different cancers at the same time, was not easy." 

He continued, "But over the years, through my mission to support our troops and families, I have met the most extraordinary people who have persevered and overcome the most difficult heartbreaking circumstances, and I have learned from them and been inspired by them. Knowing them gave me strength. Perhaps it was God's way of preparing me to meet our own difficult fight, having met and watched so many courageous families confronting what life had thrown at them."

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"In sharing our story, we hope to shine a little bit of light on what has been a difficult time for us as Mac was truly a light for all of us," Sinise wrote "An incredible inspiration to those who knew and loved him, he faced his battle with grace, courage, and love. Even with one setback after another, he never stopped living and learning, creating, and giving, and loving. He loved all our family."

"There are so many friends he loved and who loved him," he added.

Gary Sinise speaking on stage

Sinise said he was "so blessed, fortunate, and proud to be to his dad." (Richie Downs/FilmMagic)

The Emmy Award winner went on to express his family's "gratitude [to] all those who have helped us, loved us, and supported us in this fight."

He said Mac had leaned on his faith during his long and grueling battle with cancer.

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

Sinise shared his son's favorite quote from St. Augustine: "You have made us for yourself oh Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you."

"He gave his family and friends so much during his 33 years, and he accomplished great things in those final months," Sinise continued. "With a glorious teaming of two old pals from college, his vision for this beautiful music was realized."

"Mac's inspiring parting gift to us."

"Thank you, Mac. You did it. Resurrection & Revival will live on. And so will you. In our hearts forever," Sinise concluded.

Mac is survived by his father, mother and two sisters.

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