Gary Russo, better known as the Second Avenue Sinatra, was found dead of an apparent hanging in Queens yesterday after missing for a month.
Police say Russo, 54, was found around 2 p.m. on Friday in the vicinity of 165th Avenue and 92nd Street in Queens, about one mile from his home in Howard Beach. He was unconscious and unresponsive with a rope around his neck hanging from a tree. He had last been seen on July 28th, 2015, and was reported missing less than a week later by his family.
Russo gained attention back in 2011 when a reader spotted him crooning with a portable amp on his lunch break outside of the Second Avenue Subway construction site at 73rd Street. That August, his uncanny cover of "Summer Wind" went viral, with more than a million hits in one week. At the time, he said he wanted to use his singing to make it up to locals for all the noise the construction was causing. As he put it in a handwritten sign, "Forget all the noise, traffic and the impact of the 2nd Ave. Subway. Enjoy the music."
Russo ended up co-writing a self help book called Don't Die With Your Song Unsung. (From the description: "If you're so stuck doing what you need to do that you can't find the time to do what you love, let Gary's story inspire you to change your perspective, set goals, and take action to achieve them.")
The Huffington Post later had a profile on Russo, noting that he had been going through a divorce and "fighting depression" when he took up the Sinatra gig. They said singing on his lunch break was a way for Russo to "exorcise his demons."
Police sources tell the News that the divorced father of two daughters had recently gone through a bad breakup.
If someone you know exhibits warning signs of suicide: do not leave the person alone; remove any firearms, alcohol, drugs or sharp objects that could be used in a suicide attempt; and call the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) or take the person to an emergency room or seek help from a medical or mental health professional.