Frank Sinatra Jr., legendary singer’s son, dies at 72

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Frank Sinatra Jr., legendary singer’s son, dies at 72

LOS ANGELES - Frank Sinatra Jr., who carried on his famous father’s legacy with his own music career and whose kidnapping as a young man added a bizarre chapter to his father’s legendary life, died Wednesday. He was 72.

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

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 - his father’s full name was Francis Albert Sinatra - but he went professionally by Frank Sinatra Jr.

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

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

He was born in Jersey City, New Jersey, in 1944, just as his father’s career was getting started, and he would watch his dad become one of the most famous singers of all time.

Sinatra Jr. followed his father into music as a teenager, eventually working for the senior Sinatra as his musical director and conductor.

Sinatra Jr. was able to provide a link to his father’s music after his death in 1998 at 82, performing his songs and arrangements on tours.

In 1963, 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 two other 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.

Sinatra Jr. had nearly two dozen TV and movie credits as an actor, including appearances on “The Love Boat’’ and “Marcus Welby, M.D.’’

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

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