Tony Bennett, Music News, News

Tony Bennett's Family Opens Up About His Alzheimer's Diagnosis

In a recent interview with AARP Magazine, Tony Bennett's family revealed that the legendary singer, who turned 94 last August, has been battling Alzheimer’s disease for more than four years.

Bennett was first diagnosed in 2016, and since then, the disease has “progressed” to the point of "increasingly rare moments of clarity and awareness." Susan, Bennett’s wife of 13 years, said that her husband still recognizes family members, but he is not always sure where he is or what is happening around him.

Susan also revealed that her husband is in generally good spirits, saying, “He would ask me, ‘What is Alzheimer’s?’ I would explain, but he wouldn’t get it. He’d tell me, ‘Susan, I feel fine.’ That’s all he could process — that physically he felt great. So, nothing changed in his life. Anything that did change, he wasn’t aware of.”

Gayatri Devi, M.D., the neurologist who diagnosed Bennett, remains positive about his outlook and ability to function, encouraging him to continue singing and performing for as long as he can do so happily. Due to COVID-19, Bennett's last public performance was on Mar. 11, 2020, but he continues to rehearse in private with longtime pianist Lee Musiker.

Bennett has also been working on new music, a sequel to his 2014 collaborative album with Lady Gaga. That project is expected this spring, although Bennett will not be able to promote the album as he typically would.

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Article Image: Tony Bennett performing at Royal Albert Hall in June 2017. (Raph_PH [CC BY 2.0] via Wikimedia Commons.)

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About Michelle Ruoff

  • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania