Born in Jersey City, New Jersey, in 1944, Frank Sinatra Jr. wasn’t actually named for his father, but for the current President, Franklin D. Roosevelt.
He didn’t see much of his father growing up, who was often on the road, performing, or on set, filming a movie. As Sinatra Jr. told The Guardian, “He was a good father as much as it was within his power.” Here, the family – including his mother, Frank Sinatra’s first wife Nancy – sits together.
Like his father, from a young age, Frank Sinatra Jr. was drawn to music, but early on, struggled to find his own identity in the industry apart from his father. “At first I felt like I was living in his shadow,” he told The Guardian, “but I did develop my own following eventually, so I must have been doing something right.”
In 1963, Frank Sinatra Jr. was kidnapped at age 19 from a hotel room in Lake Tahoe, California. After being held for two days, his father paid $240,000 in ransom and he was released.
He was the second of Frank and Nancy Sinatra’s three children and is survived by his mother and two sisters, Nancy and Tina. Here, Frank, his father and his sisters pose together in matching all-white ensembles. Sinatra released seven albums during his life, and appeared on multiple TV shows, including The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour and The Dean Martin Show. He also collaborated with Frank Sr., recording “Chicago” for his father’s 1993 album Duets. “It was the wrong thing to do,” he told PEOPLE in 2013. “It was nothing but nepotism and it always embarrassed me. I did not belong on those records. I was delighted to do it, but I didn’t belong there.”
He was married in 1998 for just two years to Cynthia McMurrey. Beyond his marriage, he had a few talked-about relationships throughout his life. In the 1980’s, he dated actress Melissa Sue Anderson, with whom he is pictured in Century City, California.
The year of Sinatra Jr.’s marriage was also the year of his father’s death. Here, he attends his funeral with his mother and sister in Beverly Hills. Sinatra Jr. had spent the last seven years of his father’s life touring with him as the conductor for his orchestra.
When his sister Nancy was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, he was there to support her. She spoke out about his brother’s death on Facebook, saying “Sleep warm, Frankie.”
Last year, he performed the National Anthem to open a Los Angeles Dodgers game. While Sinatra Jr. had success throughout his career, he never reached his father’s level of star power. In 2012, he told The Guardian, “My lack of success does not trouble me at this stage in my life, no. When I was younger, sure, I wanted to have some degree of, shall we say, identity. But it never came.”
He continued performing up until the day he died of cardiac arrest – he had a scheduled concert on Wednesday, March 16, the day of his death, in Daytona Beach, Florida, and spent the hours prior rehearsing. “He was a really nice guy and an all-around solid musician,” Jacksonville University music professor Tony Steve, who was touring with Sinatra at the time of his death, told PEOPLE. “He knew all the details of everything that has happening and being played. He had a reverence for the music that is such an important part of American pop and the [Great] American Songbook.