A phone call placed by PEOPLE to Sinatra's room at the Downey Regional Medical Center was answered by a woman who would only identify herself as the patient's "Aunt Dorothy."
Confirming that Sinatra was there, Aunt Dorothy told PEOPLE, "He's doing okay. He had a big setback. Let's just say it's very similar to what his grandfather went through with Ava Gardner. He's been having a very tough time. He's doing better now. We think he'll pull through."
TMZ.com, which was the first to report Sinatra's condition, said that 911 respondents found the 32-year-old conscious after he swallowed too many pills. The grandson has always shunned the notoriety that comes with his famous family name, sources told the site.
On this being a pill overdose, Aunt Dorothy told PEOPLE: "I can't go into that. But he's had a real setback. We're all praying for him."
Asked if this had been a suicide attempt, Aunt Dorothy would not say, but repeated, “It's just like what happened with his grandfather and Ava Gardner."
Nearly 60 years ago, in a headline-making scandal that even brought the condemnation of the Roman Catholic Church, the senior Frank Sinatra left Nancy Sinatra – his devoted wife and mother of his son Frank Jr. and two daughters, Nancy and Tina – for the sultry Gardner, still considered among the sexiest actresses ever to appear onscreen.
Rockily married from 1951 until 1957, Sinatra and Gardner battled as often as they made love, and the singer was consumed by jealousy when it came to his lusty (and lusted-after) wife and her other lovers.