Singer Tony Bennett has passed away at the age of 96 following his Alzheimer’s diagnosis.
The legendary singer is one of the most recognizable entertainers in history, collecting twenty Grammy Awards throughout his legendary career.
Tony Bennett Dead At 96 Following Alzheimer’s Diagnosis
On Friday morning, Bennett’s publicist, Sylvia Weiner, confirmed to The Associated Press that the singer had passed away in his hometown in New York.
No specific cause of death was provided; however, February 2021, he revealed that he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease five years earlier. Despite his diagnosis, he continued to perform, both in the recording studio and on tour.
That same year, he performed two shows at New York’s Radio City Music Hall with Lady Gaga. Shortly after the performance, he announced that he was canceling his fall tour.
Throughout his career, Bennett won twenty Grammy Awards, including a Lifetime Achievement honor in 2001. He won his last award in April 2022 for his work with Lady Gaga on the album Love for Sale, their second collaboration together. His latest win made him the second-oldest winner in history.
Lady Gaga Became Emotional During Final Performance With Tony Bennett
In August 2021, Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett performed to sold-out shows. The concert series was filmed and aired for audiences on Sunday, November 28, in a TV special called “One Last Time: An Evening With Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga.”
The aging singer stayed in step with Lady Gaga throughout the special, especially for their duets like “Love For Sale” and “Anything Goes.”
Before he took the stage, Lady Gaga introduced the iconic singer, saying, “He’s my friend. He’s my musical companion. And he’s the greatest singer in the whole world. And I’m counting on you, New York, to make him smile. So you better cheer. You better yell. You better laugh. You better cry. You better give your soul,” as previously reported by The Blast.
Bennett’s family later shared a photo of him gathered around the television set with a few family members, including their dogs, on Instagram. The caption read, “Getting everyone together on the couch tonight to watch One Last Time: An Evening with Tony Bennett & @LadyGaga on @CBStv. Where are you and your family tuning in from?”
After the performance aired, Lady Gaga posted a photo of the two singing together on stage. In the caption, she praised Tony’s wife, Susan Benedetto, as the lady of the hour.
“The real ‘Lady’ of the hour is Susan Benedetto, Tony’s remarkable wife,” Gaga wrote at the time. “Thank you Susan for how you love @itstonybennett. I love you and Tony and the whole family so much. I’ll cry about tonight forever. #OneLastTime.”
Ahead of the special, Lady Gaga told “60 Minutes” that she was concerned that Bennett, who had been calling her “sweetheart” since they started working together, might not remember who she was.
However, when she first appeared on stage at the Radio City Music Hall concert, she recalled how Bennett exclaimed, “Wow! Lady Gaga!”
Although Gaga said that she had to keep it together and perform, she revealed, “I’ll tell you, when I walked out on that stage, and he said, ‘Lady Gaga,’ my friend saw me, and it was very special.”
She went on to say that Bennett’s story is “not a sad story. It’s emotional. It’s hard to watch somebody change. I think what’s been beautiful about this, and what’s been challenging, is to see how it affects him in some ways, but to see how it doesn’t affect his talent. I think he really pushed through something to give the world the gift of knowing that things can change, and you can still be magnificent.”
Bennett Will Be Remembered For His Incredible Career
Tony Bennett will be remembered as one of the greatest in American music history. In 2006, Richard Merkin published a piece in Vanity Fair, saying that after “the passing of Frank Sinatra, Peggy Lee, Ella Fitzgerald, and, recently, Ray Charles, Bennett stands as the premier stylist and interpreter of classic American song.”
“It is easy to believe that when this planet of ours gives forth its last ding-dong, Tony Bennett will be onstage in some worthy cabaret, resplendent in a double-breasted tuxedo and a bat-wing bow tie, summoning what the late Nelson Algren called ‘a rain that lightly rains regret’ and singing in his wonderful voice of the Tony Bennett verities — heartbreak, joy, and love, of course,” he continued, adding, “Like no other.”
In addition to his wife, Bennett leaves behind sons Danny and Dae; daughters Joanna and Antonia; and nine grandchildren.