Frank Sinatra Jr. — son of the legendary Frank Sinatra — passed away of a massive heart attack in Daytona Beach, Florida on Wednesday, according to TMZ. He was 72-years-old. He traveled to the Sunshine State to perform a concert that night.
Sinatra Jr. worked as a music director and conductor for Frank Sinatra; even putting his own career on hold at his father’s request in 1988. He was also a songwriter. Sinatra Jr. kept his father’s music legacy alive up until his death. However, he spent most of his life trying to escape the famous singer’s shadow.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. The Sinatra Family Put Out a Statement, Saying He Died Unexpectedly
Sinatra Jr. was taken into Halifax Medical Center, but a rep told TMZ that “he was feeling better.” Sinatra’s heart attack occurred while he was inside the hospital.
In a statement to The Associated Press, the Sinatra family said that Sinatra Jr. died unexpectedly of a heart attack while touring in Daytona Beach and that they were mourning “the untimely passing of their son, brother, father and uncle.” Additional details weren’t given. Sinatra Jr. is survived by his sisters, Nancy (TV producer) and Tina Sinatra (actress).
2. He Was Kidnapped & Held for Ransom at Age 19
On December 8, 1963, Sinatra Jr. was kidnapped in Lake Tahoe and held at ransom for $240,000. He was taken at gunpoint — with pistols — out of his Harrah’s Casino hotel room and transported to Canoga Park in San Fernando Valley, California. Barry Keenan was “the mastermind behind the scheme” and also “considered abducting the sons of Bob Hope and Bing Crosby,” reported History.com. Joe Amsler was also involved in the kidnapping.
Sinatra Jr. was chosen because the kidnappers thought he could “handle the stress,” reported the site. John F. Kennedy‘s assassination stalled the criminals’ plans. Ultimately, Sinatra Jr. was found strolling the streets of Los Angeles unharmed. John Irwin — an associate of Keenan — turned himself in to the San Diego FBI and gave a confession. The kidnapping has been called a hoax as the defendants blamed Sinatra Jr. for putting together the abduction, reported the site.
Interesting to note: Sinatra Jr’s father was buried with a roll of dimes, a habit he started when his son was kidnapped.
3. He Was Married & Divorced to Cynthia McMurrey
Sinatra Jr. tied the knot to lawyer Cynthia McMurrey — pictured above with the late singer — on October 18, 1998. They moved into a $3.5 million mansion in Beverly Hills, according to Deseret News on August 13, 2000. Two divorced in 2000, citing irreconcilable differences. McMurrey and Sinatra Jr’s separation was announced on January 7, 2000. They didn’t have any children together.
However, Sinatra Jr, has a son from Mary Fleming — Michael Sinatra — that was born on March 1, 1987. Fleming had an affair with Sinatra Jr. Speculation arose that he had another son named Frank Sinatra III but he continuously rebutted it.
Michael put out the following tweet after his father’s death, saying that he “was loved so much despite being deeply flawed.”
4. He Was Scheduled to Do a Concert on the Night He Died
Sinatra Jr. — performing “All or Nothing At All” with his father in 1969 — was in the Daytona Beach area to do a concert on Wednesday night. He made the trip for his Sinatra Sings tour and had been rehearsing prior, reported WPTZ. He performed the National Anthem at Yankee Stadium in 2015.
Sinatra Jr’s first album was titled, “Young Love for Sale,” which he released in 1965. He also made a few TV appearances, including The Love Boat (1979) and Tales of the Unexpected (1982). His voice was also used on Family Guy from 2006-2008.
5. Several Celebrities Have Expressed Their Sympathies on Twitter
Several celebrities such as Larry King, Tony Bennett and Seth McFarlane took to Twitter to express their deepest sympathies over Sinatra Jr.’s passing, among others.