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Gary Sinise pays tribute to son, who died of a rare spinal cancer

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Actor Gary Sinise penned a heartfelt letter honoring his son McCanna Anthony Sinise, who died earlier this year after a five-year battle with a rare cancer. 

"Like any family experiencing such a loss, we are heartbroken and have been managing as best we can," the actor wrote in the tribute to his son. "As parents, it is so difficult losing a child."

Doctors diagnosed Sinise's son, better known as Mac, with a rare spinal cancer called chordoma in 2018. At the same time, Sinise's wife Moira was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer.   

"The summer of 2018 was a particularly challenging time for our family," Sinise wrote.

About 300 Americans are diagnosed with chordoma every year, according to the Chordoma Foundation. 

"In 70% of the cases the initial tumor can be removed, and it is cured," Sinise wrote. "But in 30% of the cases, perhaps about 90 people per year, the cancer returns."

Sinise's wife emerged from the battle cancer-free and has stayed that way since. However, their son's battle against the rare disease continued for the next 5.5 years. 

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

The Gary Sinise Foundation described Mac as the inspiration that drove everyone at the nonprofit. 

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 wrote. "He fought an uphill battle against a cancer that has no cure, but he never quit trying."

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