Frank Sinatra Jr dies at 72 after suffering cardiac arrest

Frank Sinatra Jr., who has died aged 72 after suffering a cardiac arrest on tour. Picture: Getty Images
Frank Sinatra Jr., who has died aged 72 after suffering a cardiac arrest on tour. Picture: Getty Images
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Frank Sinatra Jr., who carried on his famous father’s legacy with his own music career, has died at the age of 72.

The younger Sinatra died unexpectedly of cardiac arrest while on tour in Daytona Beach, Florida, the Sinatra family said in a statement.

The statement said the family mourns the untimely passing of their son, brother, father and uncle. No other details were provided.

His real name was Francis Wayne Sinatra, but he went professionally by Frank Sinatra Jr.

Sinatra Jr. was the middle child of Frank and Nancy Sinatra, who was the elder Sinatra’s first wife and the mother of all three of his children.

Sinatra Jr.’s older sister was also Nancy, who had a successful musical career of her own, and his younger sister was the TV producer Tina Sinatra.

Born in New Jersey in 1943, just as his father’s career was getting started, he would watch his dad become one of the most famous singers of all time.

But he usually watched from a distance, as Sinatra was constantly away on tours and making movies.

He did, however, sometimes get to see him from the wings of the stage, especially when his father performed for long stints in Las Vegas.

Sinatra Jr. got to see many other top performers too, such as Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr. and Count Basie.

“I saw all the top stars perform,” Sinatra Jr. said in 2002.

He said one of his favorite memories of his father was a show in the late 1960s at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.

“He was sitting on a little stool, and he sang the Beatles song Yesterday and By the Time I Get to Phoenix and Didn’t We.” Sinatra Jr. said. “We were all crying and singing.”

Sinatra Jr. entered the music business as a teenager, eventually working for his father as his musical director and conductor.

The elder Sinatra died of a heart attack in May 1998, at the age of 82.

Sinatra Jr. was able to provide a link to his father’s music after his death, performing his songs and arrangements on tours and especially in Las Vegas.

“Since my father’s death, a lot of people have made it clear that they’re not ready to give up the music,” Sinatra Jr. said in a 2002 interview.

“For me, it’s a big, fat gift. I get to sing with a big orchestra and get to sing orchestrations that will never be old.”

When Sinatra Jr. was 19 in 1963, three men kidnapped him at gunpoint from a Lake Tahoe hotel. He was returned safely after two days when his family paid $240,000 for his release.

Barry Keenan, a high school friend of Nancy Sinatra, was arrested with the other two suspects, Johnny Irwin and Joe Amsler, and convicted of conspiracy and kidnapping.

Keenan masterminded the kidnapping, prosecutors said. He was sentenced to life plus 75 years in prison, but was declared legally insane at the time of the crime, had his sentence reduced and was paroled in 1968 after serving 4 { years.

Sinatra Jr. had nearly two dozen TV and movie credits as an actor, including appearances on The Love Boat and Marcus Welby M.D., most recently providing his own voice for two episodes of Family Guy.

He was scheduled to perform on Thursday night in St. Petersburg, Florida, in a show featuring his father’s songbook.

The venue’s website mentioned Sinatra Jr.’s death in cancelling the show. He had other tour dates booked for May, September and October in the Midwest and East Coast.

Sinatra Jr. was married in 1998, but divorced in 2000. He is survived by a son, Michael.