Tony Bennett has been battling Alzheimer’s disease since 2016, a new article has revealed.
AARP Magazine broke the news of Bennett’s illness in a profile of the musician published on February 1. The story revealed that the 94-year-old was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2016, which has manifested in its common form of memory loss.
Bennett’s family and chief caretakers, his wife Susan and son Danny, decided to go public with the singer’s illness as he is, according to Susan, “incapable of understanding the disease, let alone making momentous decisions about whether to publicly disclose it,” as AARP reports.
However, Bennett’s passion for music and performing has not waned—shortly after the diagnosis, he continued to tour right until his last public performance in March 2020, and AARP’s John Colapinto writes of witnessing an hour-long performance by Bennett.
Two years after he was diagnosed, Bennett also reunited with old collaborator Lady Gaga. In 2014 they had released the standards album Cheek to Cheek, which debuted at number one on Billboard’s Top 200 pop and rock chart. In 2018, they began to record its follow-up, even though, as AARP reports, he “was already showing clear signs of the disease” during studio sessions.
Dr Gayatri Devi, Bennett’s doctor and the one who diagnosed him in 2016, told the publication that though Bennett has some “cognitive issues… multiple other areas of his brain are still resilient and functioning well.” She added, “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.”
Revisit Cheek to Cheek below: