Frank Sinatra – Even though he had been in failing health for several years, news of his death earlier in the morning of May 14, 1998 came as a shock and tributes began pouring from every part of the world as the day went on.
There was other news this day, but it all seemed to be put on hold as the passing of this icon took center stage.
Wikipedia chronicles the last years of Sinatra’s life here:
On June 6, 1988, Sinatra made his last recordings with Reprise for an album which was not released. He recorded “My Foolish Heart”, “Cry Me A River”, and other songs. Sinatra never completed the project, but take number 18 of “My Foolish Heart” may be heard in The Complete Reprise Studio Recordings (1995).
In 1990, Sinatra was awarded the second “Ella Award” by the Los Angeles-based Society of Singers, and performed for a final time with Ella Fitzgerald at the award ceremony. Sinatra maintained an active touring schedule in the early 1990s, performing 65 concerts in 1990, 73 in 1991 and 84 in 1992 in seventeen different countries.
In 1993, Sinatra returned to Capitol Records and the recording studio for Duets, which became his best-selling album. The album and its sequel, Duets II, released the following year, would see Sinatra remake his classic recordings with popular contemporary performers, who added their vocals to a pre-recorded tape. During his tours in the early 1990s, his memory failed him at times during concerts, and he fainted onstage in Richmond, Virginia, in March 1994. His final public concerts were held in Fukuoka Dome in Japan on December 19–20, 1994. The following year, he sang for the very last time on February 25, 1995, before a live audience of 1200 select guests at the Palm Desert Marriott Ballroom, on the closing night of the Frank Sinatra Desert Classic golf tournament. Esquire reported of the show that Sinatra was “clear, tough, on the money” and “in absolute control”. Sinatra was awarded the Legend Award at the 1994 Grammy Awards, where he was introduced by Bono, who said of him, “Frank’s the chairman of the bad attitude … Rock ‘n roll plays at being tough, but this guy is the boss – the chairman of boss … I’m not going to mess with him, are you?”
In 1995, to mark his 80th birthday, the Empire State Building glowed blue. A star-studded birthday tribute, Sinatra: 80 Years My Way, was held at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, featuring performers such as Ray Charles, Little Richard, Natalie Cole and Salt-N-Pepa singing his songs. At the end of the program Sinatra graced the stage for the last time to sing the final notes of the “Theme from New York, New York” with an ensemble. In recognition of his many years of association with Las Vegas, Frank Sinatra was elected to the Gaming Hall of Fame in 1997.
And that’s what happened, this May 14th, 1998 as reported by CBS Radio and KNX throughout the day.