Tony Bennett, 94, has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease

Tony Bennett has Alzheimer’s and has secretly been living with the disease since 2016.

The American jazz singer, 94, announced he was diagnosed four years ago and has carried on performing and will release a new, untitled album with Lady Gaga, recorded after his diagnosis. 

On his Twitter feed, his family said: ‘life is a gift, even with Alzheimer’s’, and thanked his wife Susan Crow, 54, and his family for their continued support.

‘Life is a gift – even with Alzheimer’s. Thank you to [his wife] Susan and my family for their support, and AARP the Magazine for telling my story’, they wrote on Twitter today.

Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive, degenerative disease of the brain, in which build-up of abnormal proteins causes nerve cells to die. 

Breaking news: Tony Bennett has revealed he has been been diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease (pictured in 2019)

Breaking news: Tony Bennett has revealed he has been been diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease (pictured in 2019)

Breaking news: Tony Bennett has revealed he has been been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease (pictured in 2019)

Dream duo: Gaga collaborated with Tony on the 2014 jazz album which featured old but not forgotten standard tunes such as Anything Goes (pictured in August 2016)

Dream duo: Gaga collaborated with Tony on the 2014 jazz album which featured old but not forgotten standard tunes such as Anything Goes (pictured in August 2016)

Dream duo: Gaga collaborated with Tony on the 2014 jazz album which featured old but not forgotten standard tunes such as Anything Goes (pictured in August 2016)

Bennett collaborated with the late Amy Winehouse on an album, they are pictured in 2010 at the after-show party for his concert at The Royal Albert Hall

Bennett collaborated with the late Amy Winehouse on an album, they are pictured in 2010 at the after-show party for his concert at The Royal Albert Hall

Bennett collaborated with the late Amy Winehouse on an album, they are pictured in 2010 at the after-show party for his concert at The Royal Albert Hall

Pals: As well as his close working and personal relationship with Gaga, Tony has also performed iconic duets with the late Frank Sinatra (pictured together in 1977) and Amy Winehouse

Pals: As well as his close working and personal relationship with Gaga, Tony has also performed iconic duets with the late Frank Sinatra (pictured together in 1977) and Amy Winehouse

Pals: As well as his close working and personal relationship with Gaga, Tony has also performed iconic duets with the late Frank Sinatra (pictured together in 1977) and Amy Winehouse

Statement: The iconic American singer, 94, has announced that he was diagnosed with the condition in 2016 and has been living with the disease ever since during an article with AARP magazine on Monday

Statement: The iconic American singer, 94, has announced that he was diagnosed with the condition in 2016 and has been living with the disease ever since during an article with AARP magazine on Monday

Statement: The iconic American singer, 94, has announced that he was diagnosed with the condition in 2016 and has been living with the disease ever since during an article with AARP magazine on Monday

Bennett’s diagnosis was revealed in an interview published on AARP on Monday.  

Although he was diagnosed four years ago, the article reveals that Tony began showing real signs of decline two years later, in 2018, when he began to record the follow up to his 2014 Cheek to Cheek album with Lady Gaga, which will be released in the spring. 

In raw documentary footage of the sessions, the article claims he can be seen struggling to reply to questions from Gaga who, as he sings one particular song, puts her hands over her face and cries. 

Bennett continues to rehearse twice weekly, as the suggestion of his neurologist, but the family did not say if he would be carrying out any live performances of the unnamed new album. 

They did reveal that he was not capable of taking part in any promotional interviews.  

His third wife Susan told the publication: ‘There’s a lot about him that I miss. Because he’s not the old Tony anymore … But when he sings, he’s the old Tony.’

She added that they kept it secret because ‘he always like to say he’s in the business of making people feel good. And so he never wanted the audience to know if he had a problem.’ 

Tony first aired concerns over his health in 2015 when he admitted he was struggling to remember the names of his fellow musicians.

Although his wife Susan tried to assist by writing a list of names to keep on his piano, Tony insisted that he needed to see a doctor.

A neurologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City confirmed the diagnosis in 2016.

Dr. Gayatri Devi, who diagnosed the star, told the magazine: ‘He is doing so many things, at 94, that many people without dementia cannot do, He really is the symbol of hope for someone with a cognitive disorder.’

He also admitted that he was ‘humbled’ by his wife’s devotion to him.

Support: Tony opened up about his condition for the first time in a Twitter post, where he said 'life is a gift, even with Alzheimer's', and thanked his wife Susan and his family for their continued support (pictured with Susan in 2019)

Support: Tony opened up about his condition for the first time in a Twitter post, where he said 'life is a gift, even with Alzheimer's', and thanked his wife Susan and his family for their continued support (pictured with Susan in 2019)

Support: Tony opened up about his condition for the first time in a Twitter post, where he said ‘life is a gift, even with Alzheimer’s’, and thanked his wife Susan and his family for their continued support (pictured with Susan in 2019)

So far the singer has been ‘spared’ some of the disease’s symptoms which include disorientation, episodes of rage, depression and a detachment from reality.

It also stated that Tony may never develop these symptoms.

The article did offer an insight into Tony’s condition, as it stated: ‘His expression had a mask-like impassivity that changed only slightly to dim awareness when Susan placed a hand on his shoulder.’

Tony’s condition has also reportedly been aided by his Mediterranean diet and exercise regimen, which are aided by his wife. Both have been proven to delay the progression of memory loss. 

Bennett was born Anthony Benedetto in New York in 1926 and shot to fame in the 1950s as a crooner, pictured in an undated photo from the late 1940s

Bennett was born Anthony Benedetto in New York in 1926 and shot to fame in the 1950s as a crooner, pictured in an undated photo from the late 1940s

Bennett was born Anthony Benedetto in New York in 1926 and shot to fame in the 1950s as a crooner, pictured in an undated photo from the late 1940s

Singers Rosemary Clooney and Tony Bennett. They performed regularly during the early episodes of the CBS television music program, Songs for Sale. Pictured on July 1, 1950.

Singers Rosemary Clooney and Tony Bennett. They performed regularly during the early episodes of the CBS television music program, Songs for Sale. Pictured on July 1, 1950.

Singers Rosemary Clooney and Tony Bennett. They performed regularly during the early episodes of the CBS television music program, Songs for Sale. Pictured on July 1, 1950.

Bennett, pictured in 1962 at Elstree Studios, won 18 Grammy awards

Bennett, pictured in 1962 at Elstree Studios, won 18 Grammy awards

Bennett, pictured in 1962 at Elstree Studios, won 18 Grammy awards

Bennett was inspired by the actor and singer Judy Garland, pictured with Bennett during a Hollywood dinner party around 1969, three years after his third wife Susan was born

Bennett was inspired by the actor and singer Judy Garland, pictured with Bennett during a Hollywood dinner party around 1969, three years after his third wife Susan was born

Bennett was inspired by the actor and singer Judy Garland, pictured with Bennett during a Hollywood dinner party around 1969, three years after his third wife Susan was born

Bennett had a late surge of popularity in the 1990s when he appeared on MTV Unplugged started to collaborate with younger artists like James Taylor (left) and KD Lang (center)

Bennett had a late surge of popularity in the 1990s when he appeared on MTV Unplugged started to collaborate with younger artists like James Taylor (left) and KD Lang (center)

Bennett had a late surge of popularity in the 1990s when he appeared on MTV Unplugged started to collaborate with younger artists like James Taylor (left) and KD Lang (center)

Another collaborator was singer John Mayer, pictured with Bennett in New York in 2008, eight years before his diagnosis with Alzheimers

Another collaborator was singer John Mayer, pictured with Bennett in New York in 2008, eight years before his diagnosis with Alzheimers

Another collaborator was singer John Mayer, pictured with Bennett in New York in 2008, eight years before his diagnosis with Alzheimers

Despite his diagnosis Bennett kept his illness a secret and carried on performing, including at The Statue of Liberty Museum in May 2019, pictured

Despite his diagnosis Bennett kept his illness a secret and carried on performing, including at The Statue of Liberty Museum in May 2019, pictured

Despite his diagnosis Bennett kept his illness a secret and carried on performing, including at The Statue of Liberty Museum in May 2019, pictured

Born Anthony Benedetto in an Italian-American family in New York in 1926, the singer, whose stage name is ‘Tony Bennett’, shot to fame as a ‘crooner’ in the 1950s.

He was inspired by Judy Garland, Louis Armstrong and Bing Crosby, and released hits like ‘Because of You’ and ‘Rags to Riches’

After suffering a cocaine addiction in the 1970s and 80s, he vowed to ‘turn around’ and appointed his son Danny as his manager who brought him to the attention of younger audiences in the 1990s, via MTV. 

He collaborated with artists like Sting, KD Lang, John Mayer, the late Amy Winehouse, James Taylor and Lady Gaga.  

The father of four began dating his third wife Susan in the late 1980s, after his 1983 divorce from his second wife, Susan Grant.

The pair were separated by a 40-year age gap and met at a concert when she was in her 20s and he was in his 60s. 

The San Francisco-born fan headed up a local chapter of his fan club when she was a teenager in the 1970s, the AARP article claimed. 

Family: Tony pictured with his four children, Danny, who acts as his manager, Antonia, Dae and Joanna (L-R) in 2016

Family: Tony pictured with his four children, Danny, who acts as his manager, Antonia, Dae and Joanna (L-R) in 2016

Family: Tony pictured with his four children, Danny, who acts as his manager, Antonia, Dae and Joanna (L-R) in 2016

They finally tied the knot in June, 2007, when she took the celebrity’s real last name, Benedetto.

Susan told CBS This Morning that Tony isn’t in any pain with his condition and due to this factor doesn’t believe that anything is wrong with him.  

She said: ‘You know, he works out five times a week. He sings twice a week with a pianist that comes over. He only understands if something is an ouch, you know, then there’s a problem.

‘He knows all his kids, absolutely. And he knows me. When you”re somebody”s caregiver 24/7, it goes a long way if they still know you.   

‘You know, every night when we go to bed, he says, ”I love you, Susan.” And every morning when he wakes up he says, ”I love you”.’

He continues to live at home with his wife Susan in their New York apartment, while he is managed by his son Danny.

Tony is also father to three other children, Dae, Antonia and Joanna. 

Susan admitted that she wasn’t sure whether Tony would be able to record his first album with Gaga at New York’s Electric Lady Studios.

She recalled telling Tony’s manager and son Danny that they would ‘try’. 

Gaga collaborated with Tony on the 2014 jazz album which featured old but not forgotten standard tunes such as Anything Goes. 

The artist previously told how collaborating with Tony ‘saved her life,’ reinvigorated her musical passion and causing her to want to ‘take a lot more time before I have kids and settle down.’

During an interview with Parade in 2014, she discussed being in a dark place following the relative low sales and media scrutiny of her album, released in November 2013.

‘Six months ago I didn’t even want to sing anymore,’ the Applause singer told the publication.  

WHAT IS ALZHEIMER’S?

Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive, degenerative disease of the brain, in which build-up of abnormal proteins causes nerve cells to die.

This disrupts the transmitters that carry messages, and causes the brain to shrink. 

More than 5 million people suffer from the disease in the US, where it is the 6th leading cause of death, and more than 1 million Britons have it.

WHAT HAPPENS?

As brain cells die, the functions they provide are lost. 

That includes memory, orientation and the ability to think and reason. 

The progress of the disease is slow and gradual. 

On average, patients live five to seven years after diagnosis, but some may live for ten to 15 years.

EARLY SYMPTOMS:

  • Loss of short-term memory
  • Disorientation
  • Behavioral changes
  • Mood swings
  • Difficulties dealing with money or making a phone call 

LATER SYMPTOMS:

  • Severe memory loss, forgetting close family members, familiar objects or places
  • Becoming anxious and frustrated over inability to make sense of the world, leading to aggressive behavior 
  • Eventually lose ability to walk
  • May have problems eating 
  • The majority will eventually need 24-hour care   

 Source: Alzheimer’s Association

Advertisement

‘Tony said, ‘I’ve ­never once in my career not wanted to do this.’ It stung. Six months ago I didn’t feel that way. 

‘I tell Tony every day that he saved my life. I was so sad. I couldn’t sleep. I felt dead. And then I spent a lot of time with Tony. He wanted nothing but my friendship and my voice.’

Throughout his career, Tony has been awarded 19 Grammy Awards, including a lifetime achievement award in 2001, and two Emmy Awards. 

He is believed to have sold around 50 million records worldwide.

As well as his close working and personal relationship with Gaga, Tony has also performed iconic duets with the late Frank Sinatra and Amy Winehouse.

TONY BENNETT’S AWARDS & ACHIEVEMENTS 

Tony Bennett has won 19 Grammy Awards along with a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award (2001) and two Emmy Awards (1996 and 2007).

The jazz star has also been recognised with an award for the National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Masters Award and Society of Singers Lifetime Achievement Award, and is a Kennedy Center Honoree.

Tony’s name is featured on both the Hollywood Walk of Fame and inducted into the Long Island Music Hall of Fame 

The American artiste has received honorary doctorates from several institutions, such as the Berklee College of Music, The Art Institute of Boston, the George Washington University and the Juilliard School.

Advertisement

link

(Visited 13 times, 1 visits today)

Leave a Reply