Rest in peace. Anthony Dominick Benedetto, known professionally as Tony Bennett, has died at 96 years old, just two weeks before what would have been his 97th birthday.
Though there was no confirmation of the cause of death, Bennett has been battling Alzheimer’s disease since his diagnosis in 2016.
Prior to Bennett’s death, the “New York State of Mind” artist was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in February 2021. “He recognizes me, thank goodness, his children, you know, we are blessed in a lot of ways,” Bennett’s wife, Susan Crow, explained during a 60 Minutes segment in October of that year. “He’s very sweet.”
Crow, 56, also revealed that Bennett wasn’t aware of his Alzheimer’s diagnosis. However, even in sickness, the Grammy Award winner remained committed to his fans. “Tony likes to say he’s in the business of making people feel good, and he still is,” Crow said at the time.
Bennett is survived by Crow, as well as his four children, Danny, Dae, Joanna and Antonia. Bennett shared Danny and Dae with his first wife, Patricia Beech, and Antonia and Joanna with his second wife, Sandra Grant Bennett.
All four of Bennett’s children have pursued careers in show business, just like he took after his own father’s love of music. “He would sit on the stairs and sing opera, show music and pop hits to my brother and me in a fine, clear voice. I like to think you can still hear my father’s voice in me. I know I do,” Tony recalled during an interview with The Guardian in 2017. “My father was the man everyone in our family, and even in our neighborhood, sought out for advice because he would listen, treat the other person with respect and try to reply with sympathy.”
During his sunset years, Bennett’s career was at an all-time high. In fact, the Long Island native collaborated and performed with Lady Gaga on Love for Sale. For his 95th birthday, he and Gaga sang several of his hits at New York City’s Radio Music Hall in front of countless fans.
“He is a remarkable human being, he served our country, he also marched with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., he used to sneak Duke Ellington into the back of hotels to play jazz music all night long,” Lady Gaga gushed over Bennett during a November 2021 interview with Stephen Colbert.
“His commitment to civil rights, and to humanity, is something that he has taught me from a young age to take with me in all that I do. I love him very deeply,” the “Born This Way” artist added, noting that music was “magic” for Bennett and that he was her “musical companion.”
Gaga then opened up about her perspective watching Bennett manage Alzheimer’s and the difficulties that accompany the illness.
“Watching him begin his journey with Alzheimer’s years ago, I remember I wanted to make good on a promise,” Gaga explained. “Then, a couple of years later, his Alzheimer’s just started to set on, and I said, let’s go into the studio now. And we did. When I tell you that when jazz begins, this man lights up in a way that is such magic.”