Tony Bennett was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. The 94-year-old singer revealed his diagnosis, which was first made in 2016, in an article by John Colapinto for the American magazine AARP. He also wrote on Twitter: “Life is a gift, even with Alzheimer’s.”
His wife, Susan Benedetto, 54, is now his primary caregiver. Colapinto writes, “Although [Bennett] can still recognize family members, according to Susan, he is not always sure where he is or what is going on around him. Everyday objects as familiar as a fork or a set of keys can be from home. extremely mysterious to him.”
Bennett is preparing to release another album of duets with Lady Gaga, following 2014’s Cheek to Cheek, which was recorded between 2018 and 2020 when she first got the condition. “In the raw documentary footage of the sessions, he rarely speaks, and when he does, his words slur; at times he seems lost and confused,” Colapinto writes, adding that he was unable to interview Bennett because of his condition. Tony Bennett.
Gayatri Devi, the doctor who diagnosed him, says that Bennett “has cognitive problems, but some other areas of his brain are still resilient and functioning well.” At 94, he does so many things that many people without dementia cannot do. It is truly the symbol of hope for someone with a cognitive disorder.
Bennett is a 19-time Grammy winner whose career dates back to the late 1940s, when he returned from World War II, and became a teen idol in the 1950s with his elegant, laid-back ballads. Collaborating with pianist Bill Evans deepened his art of jazz singing after the pop revolutions of the 1960s took hold and he has maintained a successful career touring the world ever since.
In addition to his long association with Lady Gaga, he has also collaborated with other young artists in recent years, including Amy Winehouse, Mariah Carey and Michael Bublé.
Surprisingly, he can still sing a wide range of his old repertoire and perform for Colapinto for an hour. Colapinto writes: “Even today, neuroscience cannot explain how a man whose voice has become so wavering – whose memory of events, people and places has largely disappeared – at the sound of a musical signal, his voice with so much beauty to sing could increase and expression”.