How Did Frank Sinatra Die? His Final Words, Legacy, and More

how did frank sinatra die
A cropped version of the photograph was published on page 15 of the November 28, 1957, issue of the jazz magazine DownBeat (Vol. 24, No. 24). The accompanying story, titled "Sinatra: He's Frank" and written by John Tynan, detailed the entertainer's preparations before the premiere of the second Frank Sinatra Show (1957–58) on ABC. In 1959, United Artists distributed the photograph as a "keybook" publicity photo. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

Throughout his timeless career, 11-time Grammy winner and one-time Academy-award winner Frank Sinatra recorded over 1,300 songs. He also starred in over 50 films.

Known affectionately as “Ol Blue Eyes” because of his signature baby-blue eyes, his legacy both as a songwriter with a fantastic singing career and as a movie star is unprecedented.

Through it all, he established a wide fan-based and prompted grief and mourning from around the world at the time of Frank Sinatra’s death.

How did Frank Sinatra die? Find out below.

How did Frank Sinatra die?

What was Frank Sinatra’s cause of death? The “That’s Life” singer died of myocardial infarction, also known as a heart attack.

In the years leading up to his death, Sinatra was hospitalized for multiple reasons, including breathing problems, high blood pressure, pneumonia, and other health issues.

frank sinatra death
Screenshot of Frank Sinatra from the trailer for the film Pal Joey, 1957. Image by Colombia Pictures Corporation on Wikimedia Commons.

What Was Frank Sinatra’s Last Words?

Reportedly, Frank Sinatra’s last words ever were to his wife. He simply told her, “I’m losing.”

Who Was Frank Sinatra with When He Died?

Frank Sinatra’s fourth wife, Barbara Blakely Marx, was by his bedside when he died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California.

Sinatra’s daughter Nancy said she and her siblings were unaware of his final hospitalization and believed it to be deliberate on the part of their stepmother. 

By doing so, “Barbara would be the grieving widow alone at her husband’s side,” she has stated.

How Old Was Frank Sinatra When He Died?

Frank Sinatra passed away at age 82 from a heart attack.  

What Year Did Frank Sinatra Die?

Frank Sinatra passed away on May 14, 1998.

What Was Frank Sinatra’s Net Worth When He Died?

When Frank Sinatra died of a heart attack in 1998, his net worth was estimated to be around $200 million. 

His estate included a large sum of cash and an assortment of cars and other high-priced items.

Related: Frank Sinatra’s Net Worth: The Life of a Music Legend

How Much is Frank Sinatra’s House Worth?

In October 2022, Frank Sinatra’s former Los Angeles home, a glass-walled midcentury modern estate, was listed for $12.75 million, according to Architectural Digest.

The new price came after a significant cut from $21.5 million, under which the property remained on the market for more than a year.


Who Did Frank Sinatra Leave His Money To?

Frank Sinatra’s will stipulated that his money be split among his wife and children. According to the Los Angeles Times, it also stated that “anyone who contests his will be disinherited.”

Sinatra’s wife of more than 20 years, Barbara Marx Sinatra, received the most significant sum of at least $3.5 million.

She also was named the owner of multiple real estate properties in Palm Springs in Florida, Beverly Hills in California, and Malibu.

Finally, she was granted 25 percent of the late singer’s personal property, all the artwork, books, and silverware in the couple’s home, as well as two of the cars in his extensive collection – a Mercedes-Benz and a Rolls-Royce.

After his wife, Sinatra also stipulated that his first wife, Nancy Barbato Sinatra, the mother of his three children, would receive $250,000 cash.

Other stipulations in Sinatra’s will said that $1 million would be added to a trust fund for his granddaughters in 1983 and that his stepson, Robert Oliver Marx, would receive $100,000 in cash.

Finally, cash gifts were given to some of his friends and former employees.  

How Much Money Did Sinatra Leave His Children?

After his ex-wife and his widow, Santra left each of his three children – Nancy Sinatra Lambert, Francis Wayne Sinatra, and Christina Sinatra – $200,000 cash apiece. That was on top of the trust funds that already existed for each child.

His son, Frank Sinatra Jr., was also granted his father’s sheet music.

Frank Sinatra’s Funeral

Frank Sinatra’s funeral was on May 20, 1998, at the Church of the Good Shepherd in Beverly Hills. 

An estimated 400 mourners gathered for the funeral, and thousands of fans gathered outside the church.

Frank Sinatra Jr., Academy-award-winning actor Gregory Peck, and singer Tony Bennett were among those who spoke during the funeral service of the From Here to Eternity actor.

frank sinatra and ava gardner
Frank Sinatra and Ava Gardner in the Amsterdam airport in 1951. Image by IISG on Wikimedia Commons.

What Songs were Played at Frank Sinatra’s Funeral?

Many songs were played during the religious service for Frank Sinatra’s funeral.

Notable works played included “Ave Maria,” “Moonlight in Vermont,” and the Frank Sinatra song “Put Your Dreams Away.”  

Sinatra’s daughter Nancy said of ending the service with “Put Your Dreams Away” 

“It was the only choice when the question came up which song of Frank’s should be played at the end of the services…there wasn’t a dry eye in the church because it’s that kind of an emotional song.”

Where is Frank Sinatra Buried?

After the funeral, Frank Sinatra was buried at Desert Memorial Park in Cathedral City, California.

Sinatra’s mother, Dolly Sinatra, and his father, Marty Sinatra, are also buried there. Additionally, his wife, Barbara Sinatra, was buried there following her death in 2017.

Other notable figures buried at Desert Memorial Park include actor and producer William Powell and actress Dorothy Arnold.

Why Was Frank Sinatra Buried with ten Dimes?

Frank Sinatra was buried with ten dimes in his pocket because of his son, Frank Jr’s kidnapping in December 1963.

Throughout the ordeal, his son’s kidnappers demanded that only a payphone be used in communications. Therefore, he always ensured he had ten dimes in his pocket to ensure he would never run out.

He kept doing that even after his son was released from the kidnappers just two days later after the kidnappers were paid $240,000 for his release.

It shows how deep a father’s love can be for his son.

Along with the dimes, Sinatra was also buried with unique items from his family members, including cherry-flavored Life Savers, a pack of Camel cigarettes, and a bottle of Jack Daniel’s whiskey.

grace kelly and frank sinatra
Photo of Frank Sinatra and Grace Kelly on the set of High Society in 1956. Image by Associated Press on Wikimedia Commons.

What is on Frank Sinatra’s Gravestone?

Along with his name and the years of his birth and death, Frank Sinatra’s gravestone was engraved with the words “Sleep Warm, Poppa.” 

It was meant to signify him as a loving father to his children.

In his casket, his youngest daughter reportedly placed a note that read, “Sleep warm, Poppa – look for me.”

What Ethnicity Was Frank Sinatra?

Frank Sinatra was an Italian American. His parents, Natalina “Dolly” Garaventa and Antonino Martino “Marty” Sinatra, were Italian immigrants.

Frank Sinatra Marriages

The “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” singer was married four times.

Frank Sinatra’s first marriage was to Nancy Sinatra, whom he met in 1934 in Long Branch, New Jersey. He was working as a lifeguard there that summer. 

The two married in 1939, but his several incidences of infidelity eventually led to their separation and divorce in 1951.

Sinatra’s second marriage was to The Night of the Iguana actress Ava Gardner. The marriage lasted six years, from 1951 to 1957. The couple remained close friends after their divorce.

Mia Farrow, famous for starring in the 1968 film Rosemary’s Baby, was Sinatra’s third wife. This was Sinatra’s shortest union, which only lasted from July 1966 until August 1968.

Sinatra’s fourth and final marriage was to Barbara Marx. The two married in 1976 and remained married until the singer died in 1998.

Frank Sinatra Children

Frank Sinatra has three children with his first wife, Nancy Sinatra.

Their oldest daughter Nancy Sinatra was born in 1940. Their only son, Frank Sinatra Jr., was born in 1944. Their youngest child, a second daughter, Tina Sinatra, was born in 1948.

Like his father, Frank Jr. unexpectedly died of a heart attack in 2016.

Who Was Frank Sinatra’s One True Love?

Although Frank Sinatra was married four times, even spending more than 20 years with his fourth wife, Barbara, his friends have noted that his first wife, Nancy Sinatra, was his one true love.

Frank and Nancy Sinatra were married for 12 years and had three children together. The latter never remarried following their divorce in 1951.

Did Elvis Meet Frank Sinatra?

The King of Rock & Roll and the King of Swing met in 1960.

Together they put on the ABC television special The Frank Sinatra Timex Show: Welcome Home Elvis. This special was Elvis’ first televised appearance since his return from West Germany during his time in the military.

It would become Sinatra’s fourth and final Timex special.

Also featuring the likes of Sammy Davis Jr., Joey Bishop, Peter Lawford, and Nancy Sinatra, the special accounted for nearly 68 percent of the night’s television audience.

Related: The 17 Best Elvis Songs of All Time: His Legacy Lives On

How Old Was Frank Sinatra When He Sang with Elvis?

During their television special, 44-year-old Frank Sinatra and 25-year-old Elvis came together for a medley of their most famous hits, including Sinatra’s “Witchcraft” and Presley’s “Love Me Tender.”

That’s quite a combination.

frank sinatra military
Cropped from a scan of a 1971 reprint promoting a theatrical re-release of the film, via Heritage Auctions. The reprint did not bear a valid copyright notice. It was presumably first published in 1953 with a copyright notice but, like other publicity stills issued at the time of the film’s original release, its copyright was not renewed. Image from Columbia Pictures on Wikimedia Commons.

What Did Frank Sinatra Say About Elvis’ Death?

Frank Sinatra and Elvis became good friends following their television special in 1960.

When the “The Lady is a Tramp” singer heard of Presley’s death in 1977, Sinatra admired and praised the late singer.

Sinatra has been quoted as saying: “There have been many accolades uttered about Elvis’ talent and performances through the years, all of which I agree with wholeheartedly. I shall miss him dearly as a friend. He was a warm, considerate, and generous man.”

Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin

Elvis wasn’t Frank Sinatra’s only high-profile friendship.

He also had a long-time friendship with Dean Martin and even appeared on The Dean Martin Show on more than one occasion. 

They were both members of the famous Rat Pack, too, but the two crooners had a deeper friendship than simply music.

Both tragically experienced the loss of loved ones in a plane crash, further bonding the two legendary artists.

Related: Musicians Who Died in Plane Crashes: The Musicians the World Lost Too Soon

Did Frank Sinatra Fight in WW2?

Frank Sinatra served with the Armed Forces, but because of his 4F status, he never went to war. He was classified as a 4F due to a pierced eardrum.

He still experienced war through the movies, starring in the film Von Ryan’s Express. He was also part of the anti-war film None but the Brave, which he directed.

Frank Sinatra Legacy

Frank Sinatra has been established as “the greatest singer of the 20th century” both before and after his death, with popularity as great as that of Bing Crosby, Michael Jackson, The Beatles, and Elvis.

In May 2008, in commemoration of the 10th anniversary of his death, a 42-cent postage stamp was issued by the United States Postal Service in his honor. 

Additionally, May 13 was declared “Frank Sinatra Day” by the U.S. House of Representatives.

On what would have been his 106th birthday on December 12, 2021, a six-foot bronze statue of the beloved star was erected at Frank Sinatra Park in New Jersey.

The legendary crooner has earned three stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, commemorating him for his recordings, television, and motion pictures.

Sinatra has been inducted into several Hall of Fames both in life and posthumously. Notable inductions include the Big Band and Jazz Hall of Fame in 1980 and the National Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 1982.

In 1983, President Ronald Reagan presented him with the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts Medal of Honor Award and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1985.

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Written by Erik Ritland

Erik Ritland is a songwriter, musician, journalist, and podcaster based in Nashville, Tennessee. He’s released over a dozen albums since 2002, most recently Old Dog Almost Gone (2021), the first-ever multimedia album, and his latest collection of all original material, A Scientific Search (2020). During his 15+ years as a music journalist, Erik has written hundreds of articles for Music in Minnesota, Something Else Reviews, his own blog Rambling On, and more. In addition to continuing his music career, Erik currently runs The Cosmic American, a music journalism website, and is the editor of Music in Minnesota.


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