In mourning, actor Gary Sinise extols his son’s musical legacy, love of the Catholic faith

Mac and Gary Sinise Mac Sinise, son of actor Gary Sinise, performs with the Lt. Dan Band. | Credit: The Gary Sinise Foundation

Gary Sinise, the Catholic actor who played Lt. Dan in the 1994 movie “Forrest Gump,” announced the death of his 33-year-old son Mac, the victim of a rare form of cancer.

Sinise, also known for his starring role in the television series “CSI: New York,” shared the sad news this week, more than five years after Mac was diagnosed with chordoma, a rare type of bone cancer that, according to the Mayo Clinic, “usually forms in the bones of the spine or in the skull.”

Since 2017, Mac, also a Catholic, worked alongside his father at the Gary Sinise Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting U.S. military veterans, first responders, and their families.

On Feb. 28, Sinise shared on the foundation’s website that his family was “heartbroken” and “managing as best we can.”

The actor noted that “Mac was a man who loved his Catholic faith, and there is no doubt that his strong faith sustained him through the awful five-and-a-half-year battle with this crippling chordoma cancer.”

Mac was a gifted musician, having graduated from the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music. He collaborated with his dad’s Lt. Dan Band shows and before his death recorded a soon-to-be released album, “Mac Sinise: Resurrection and Revival.”

​​”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,” Sinise continued. “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.”

Sinise also shared his son’s favorite quote, taken from St. Augustine: “You have made us for yourself O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.”

In 2016, the actor openly shared the story of his family’s spiritual journey on EWTN’s “The World Over with Raymond Arroyo” as well as his commitment from an early age to supporting members of the military and veterans, inspired by both his and his wife’s veteran family members.

Sinise’s journey to the Catholic faith began in the 1990s when his wife, Irish actress Moira Harris, rediscovered her Catholic roots and began regularly attending Mass. The family followed her and attended Harris’ confirmation on Easter Sunday in 2000.

In December 2010, the actor received the sacrament of confirmation. “I see now that my work with veterans over the past 30 years and my journey being confirmed in the Catholic Church are very much a part of the same story,” he told CNA at the time.

Shortly after his confirmation, Sinise felt he could do still more to serve veterans.

“I felt called by God and compelled to use all the tools and notoriety that I had been blessed with and all the work I had done with the military over the years to serve in a more substantial way to create something that could be here for the long haul,” Sinise said, and in 2011, he started the Gary Sinise Foundation.

In addition to building custom smart homes for numerous veterans, the foundation offers multiple programs and resources that honor and help veterans and their families successfully adjust to life after combat.

This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.

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