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Nancy Sinatra, first wife of Frank Sinatra, dies at 101

Nancy Sinatra Sr, the childhood sweetheart of Frank Sinatra, who became the first of his four wives and the mother of his three children, has died. She was 101.

Her daughter, Nancy Sinatra Jr, tweeted that her mother died on Friday and a posting on her webpage said she died at 6:02pm, but didn't indicate where.

Her daughter called her "a blessing and the light of my life."

External Link: Nancy Sinatra tweet

Frank and Nancy Sinatra had been teenage sweethearts. They married in New Jersey, in February 1939, just as Sinatra's singing career was about to take off.

During the marriage's early years, the Sinatras lived in a modest apartment in Jersey City, where their two eldest children were born. For a time Nancy was employed as a secretary while her husband worked as a singing waiter.

After he became a pop-music sensation in the 1940s, the couple moved to Los Angeles, where the singer would also become a movie star, raconteur and notorious womaniser.

That latter accomplishment led Nancy to leave him after an affair with actress Ava Gardner became public knowledge.

Weeks after the pair's divorce became final in 1951, Frank Sinatra married Gardner, while Nancy went on to raise the couple's three children: Nancy, Frank Jr. and Tina.

Nancy Sinatra Sr stands between daughters Tina (left) and Nancy Jr (right) in front of memorabilia of Frank Sinatra

After the gossip over the divorce and Gardner marriage died down, Nancy Sinatra devoted herself to family and numerous celebrity friends, largely withdrawing from the spotlight.

She not only outlived her husband, who died in 1998, but her son, who died in 2016.

In later years she would become known as Nancy Sr, especially after daughter Nancy became a 1960s singing star in her own right with These Boots Are Made For Walking and other hit songs.

She also remained friendly with her ex-husband, and never remarried.

"There is no bitterness, only great respect and affection between Sinatra and his first wife," Gay Talese wrote in 1966, "and he has long been welcome in her home and has even been known to wander in at odd hours, stoke the fire, lie on the sofa, and fall asleep."

AP

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