One of Hollywood’s legends, Tony Bennett, has revealed their battle with Alzheimer’s disease.
According to the AARP, Tony Bennett, 94, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2016. He and his family have chosen to keep his illness private until now.
On February 1, 2021, Bennett wrote a message to the AARP on Twitter, thanking them for covering his story. In the tweet, Bennett wrote, “Life is a gift – even with Alzheimer’s. Thank you to Susan and my family for their support, and @AARP The Magazine for telling my story.”
John Colapinto of AARP sat down with Bennett on November 1, 2020 and he was accompanied by Bennett’s wife Susan. When speaking with Susan, Colapinto said she revealed her husband is “not always sure where he is or what is happening around him. Mundane objects as familiar as a fork or a set of house keys can be utterly mysterious to him.”
Tony Bennett Was Exhibiting Symptoms When Working with Lady Gaga
In 2014, Bennett was collaborating with Lady Gaga and recorded the album Cheek to Cheek. With the album, the two also recorded Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga: Cheek to Cheek Live!, as a television concert in promotion of their album.
In 2018, Bennett’s wife said he was recording the new LP and he was two years into his diagnosis. She said at that point, he was already showing “clear signs” of his illness. Variety reported that this new follow-up album will be released in Spring 2021.
According to AARP, documentary footage taken during the recording sessions for that follow up album, recorded after Bennett’s Alzheimer’s disease had begun showing symptoms, suggests that Gaga was aware of his condition. In addition to her gentle prompting of him with short, simple to answer questions, AARP notes that at one point during Bennett’s solo singing, “Gaga looks on, from behind her mic, her smile breaking into a quiver, her eyes brimming, before she puts her hands over her face and sobs.”
Lady Gaga and Bennett were interviewed by Parade in 2014, and much of the interviewed focused on their relationship as collaborators and friends. Of Bennett and his significance to her Gaga, revealing, “The other day, 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.”
Susan Bennett Says Her Husband Can No Longer Make Decisions
According to Bennett’s wife Susan, the NY Times has stated, Bennett is not able to make his own decisions at this point. Bennett revealed that her husband has asked her to explain what Alzheimer’s is, saying, “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.”
Tony and Susan met in 1985, when he was 58 and she was 19. They fell in love and lived together in New York City, marrying in 2007.
Two weeks prior to Bennett revealing his health struggle, he let the world know that he had received his first COVID-19 vaccine. On Twitter, Bennett wrote, “I received the first dose of the Covid 19 vaccination this week and am doing fine and encourage you to do the same!” In the tweet, he tagged the World Health Organization.
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