Legendary crooner Tony Bennett has revealed that he has been privately battling Alzheimer’s Disease.
The singer announced that he has been living with the neuro-generative disease via a new article published in AARP Magazine today (February 1).
“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,” he wrote on Twitter.
The 94-year-old, who has won 19 Grammy Awards in a career spanning more than 75 years, was first diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2016.
Despite battling the condition, AARP reports that the singer has continued work on the follow-up to 2014’s ‘Cheek to Cheek’ – his collaborative album of jazz standards recorded with Lady Gaga.
The pair reportedly recorded the album “in widely spaced sessions, between 2018 and early 2020” and it is finally being prepared for release this spring.
Bennett remains at home with his wife Susan in their New York apartment, but the disease is said to be slowly progressing.
“Bennett, first diagnosed in 2016, has so far been spared the disorientation that can prompt patients to wander from home, as well as the episodes of terror, rage or depression that can accompany Alzheimer’s frightening detachment from reality; and, indeed, he might never develop these symptoms,” wrote AARP‘s John Colapinto.
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.
Read more here:https://t.co/R05A4jc5BF⁰
📸 Kelsey Bennett pic.twitter.com/ApxBCpGv0y
— Tony Bennett (@itstonybennett) February 1, 2021
“But there was little doubt that the disease had progressed. Even his increasingly rare moments of clarity and awareness reveal the depths of his debility. At one point, as Susan and I stood chatting, he looked up suddenly from the book in his lap and, flashing that familiar smile, asked me in his soft, sueded whisper, ‘How’s the weather outside?’ Had I not known that he and Susan had just returned from walking their dog in the park, I might not have suspected that anything was amiss.”
Colapinto has also seen “raw documentary footage” which reveals the emotional toll of Bennett’s diagnosis on Lady Gaga while the pair recorded their latest album.
“The pain and sadness in Gaga’s face is clear at such moments — but never more so than in an extraordinarily moving sequence in which Tony (a man she calls ‘an incredible mentor, and friend, and father figure’) sings a solo passage of a love song,” he wrote.
“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.”
Bennett is best known for hits such as ‘Rags To Riches’ and ‘I Left My Heart in San Francisco’. A release date for the album is yet to be confirmed.