The family of legendary singer Tony Bennett—a staple presence who introduced generations to the American songbook and pop standards—says he has Alzheimer’s disease.
The announcement was made in a profile of Bennett published by AARP The Magazine on Monday; his wife, Susan Benedetto, says that he was diagnosed with the debilitating disease in 2016. On Monday morning, Bennett’s Twitter account posted a note in the singer’s name, writing: “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.”
Benedetto also gave an interview to CBS This Morning on Monday, saying that Bennett is still able to rehearse twice a week at home, singing for an hour or so at a time.
Benedetto told AARP that the singer is often disoriented and sometimes doesn’t recognize the utility of household objects such as forks or keys, but that he still recognizes family members.
Despite his battle, Bennett has recorded a new album of duets with Lady Gaga as a follow-up to their 2014 project, Cheek to Cheek. According to AARP, the new material was recorded “in widely spaced sessions” between 2018 and early last year and Gaga was aware of his disease while they were recording.