‘CSI’ Actor Gary Sinise’s Son Became Paralyzed from the Chest Down But Continued Pursuing His Favorite Activity

The story of Mac Sinise, son of actor Gary Sinise, is a profound testament to the resilience of the human spirit in the face of adversity. At just 33, Mac’s life was a beacon of determination and strength, marked by his passionate engagement with life despite battling a rare and relentless form of cancer. This journey was not just a private battle; it was a deeply moving narrative that resonated with many who heard it, embodying true courage and the relentless pursuit of one’s passions against all odds.

Gary Sinise, known for his role on “CSI: New York” and his deep contributions to supporting veterans through his foundation, faced perhaps his most personal challenge as he navigated the complexities of his son’s illness alongside his own family’s trials. The story unfolds with Mac’s diagnosis of a rare spinal cancer, Chordoma, a disease that affects only a handful of people each year and comes with a grim prognosis. The timing was particularly harsh as it came just as Gary’s wife Moira Harris was battling stage three breast cancer. Twin medical crises cast a grim shadow over their family, but also highlighted their incredible resilience and unity.

Mac Sinise, son of Gary Sinise, sadly lost his life at the age of 33 after a long battle with an unusual type of cancer.

On January 6, 2024, the Gary Sinise Foundation released an emotional statement confirming Mac’s death.

When Mac was laid to rest on January 23, 2024, Gary remembered his son’s brave battle with an incurable disease. Recognized for his work on “CSI: New York,” Gary expressed his deep sense of blessing, gratitude, and pride to be Mac’s father.

Gary gave a moving recollection of Mac’s life and highlighted his love of drumming, which he started at the young age of nine. Due to his extraordinary talent, Mac joined Gary’s band as a drummer, Lt. Dan Band, and performed at a number of events, including a gala party for “CSI: New York”.

Gary said nostalgically: “Those were great times, father and son going to the troops together.” But when their mother and son received cancer diagnoses within months of each other, misfortune rocked their family.

Gary Harris’ wife Moira Harris faced huge obstacles in the summer of 2018 as she battled stage 3 breast cancer and underwent radiation, chemotherapy, and surgery. Sadly, Mac received the heartbreaking diagnosis of Chordoma, a rare disease that begins in the spine, on August 8, 2018.

After conducting an extensive study, Gary discovered that chordoma is extremely rare, affecting only about 300 people in the US each year. Although there are situations where treatment is successful, Mac’s prognosis was dire and his chances of recurrence were significant.

Fortunately, Moira’s cancer was cured and went into remission, but Mac’s journey was difficult. Even after the tumor was removed during the first operation, further operations and tests showed that the disease continued unabated.

Despite his health problems, Mac continued to devote himself to his work as Assistant Manager of Education and Outreach at the Gary Sinise Foundation. His responsibilities included managing archives, planning events, and interacting with service members and their families.

Mac remained strong and dedicated to his work until November 2019, when he underwent a third spinal operation that caused his health to deteriorate further. His death signaled the end of a brave fight against an unrelenting enemy and left a legacy of bravery and unwavering devotion to others.

Gary noted that attendees at a number of regional and national events, as well as guests at the Gary Sinise: Call to Action show, have been positively influenced by Mac Sinises.

The actor highlighted Mac’s unshakable dedication to the foundation’s cause and the people it helped, stressing that his presence on the team was a great blessing. Gary was thrilled to see his child develop and advance in society.

The Foundation greatly benefited from Mac’s infectious enthusiasm, which was especially evident at occasions such as the Soaring Valor rallies honoring World War I heroes and the Festivals of the Invincible Spirit, when Lt. The Dan Band lifted the spirits of wounded veterans across the country.

Gary had happy memories of traveling with Mac and how his devotion to their cause was evident in every exchange. “I’ve been excited to see him develop within the organization,” Gary said.

Gary reflected on Mac’s tenacity and shared how he continued to be committed to the foundation’s goals even while recovering at home. Mac enthusiastically participated in the establishment of the Gary Sinise Foundation, despite personal problems.

Despite enduring medical procedures and treatments, his dedication to conducting interviews was evident. But in January 2020, realizing the importance of putting his health first, Mac took a temporary leave of absence from his work at the foundation to focus on his recovery.

Gary respected Mac’s choice and realized that he had to do his best, especially with the upcoming medical treatment. During his ongoing battle with Chordoma, Mac’s family and friends came together to support him by forming “Team Mac” to raise money to help research a cure.

Mac’s condition worsened when the disease left him paralyzed from the chest down, preventing him from playing the piano or drums. Inexorably returning to his love of music, Mac pulls out a piece he wrote in college called “Arctic Circles.”

Mac persisted in working with musicians and friends to bring his song to life despite his physical limitations. He persevered with his passion for music with tenacity and ingenuity, learning new instruments such as the harmonica on his mother’s recommendation.

Mac’s tenacious pursuit of his musical goals demonstrated his resourcefulness and resilience and was a testament to his unshakable spirit in the face of adversity.

Mac’s musical career was inspired by Gary’s friend, Medal of Honor winner and harmonica player Sammy L. Davis.

When Mac saw a video of Sammy performing “Shenandoah”, he was inspired to learn the song and sing it flawlessly.

Gary was impressed with Mac’s performance and offered to prepare some strings with him. Oliver had already arranged “Arctic Circles”, so Gary suggested adding “Shenandoah” as well.

This partnership gave Mac the idea for the whole album “Resurrection & Revival”, which is focused on reviving abandoned or unfinished works. Mac persisted in his vision despite the weight of his illness, and soon the entire record will be available for purchase as a result of his hard work.

Mac was excited to introduce his invention to the world, but his happiness was short-lived as he died the week the album was released.

But to make the celebration even more joyful, Harry Connick, Jr. surprised him on his last birthday during a recording session at Blackbird Studios.

Gary did not discuss Mac’s battle publicly until December 29, 2023, during his live interview with Raymond Arroyo.

Unfortunately, breathing problems forced Mac to visit the emergency room the day after the interview, resulting in his hospital stay.

Over the next few days, Mac’s condition worsened despite the initial stabilization. He died quietly on January 5, 2024, with his family by his side.

Gary’s family paid tribute to Mac’s carers for their support during their difficult time and highlighted Mac’s strong Catholic faith which gave him courage during his illness.

The family is saddened by his absence but takes comfort in Mac’s courage and the knowledge that he is no longer in pain. They are moved by his bravery and remember him as a soldier who refused to give up despite an overwhelming battle with cancer.

Although Mac is greatly missed, his family finds comfort in knowing that he is at peace and that everyone who knew him was inspired by his unwavering spirit.

Mac Sinise’s life and legacy will undoubtedly leave an indelible mark on all who knew him. Throughout his battle with a devastating illness, Mac exemplified immense courage and an unwavering passion for life, especially through his love of music and dedication to the Gary Sinise Foundation. Despite extraordinary challenges, Mac’s spirit never wavered; instead, he found ways to adapt and pursue his passions and inspire others with his resilience and determination.

His family, while grieving his loss, finds comfort in remembering the joy and inspiration Mac provided to all those around him, his deep faith, and the meaningful impact he had on the lives of so many. His story is a poignant reminder of the strength of the human spirit in the face of adversity and the profound impact an individual can have. Marked by bravery, creativity, and a deep commitment to others, Mac’s legacy will continue to inspire and influence and serve as a lasting tribute to his remarkable life.

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