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Tony Bennett says, "Life is a gift," as he reveals Alzheimer's diagnosis

2 years 1 day 20 hours ago Monday, February 01 2021 Feb 1, 2021 February 01, 2021 12:00 PM February 01, 2021 in News
Source: CNN
Tony Bennett

An iconic singer with an unforgettable voice, known for his rendition of jazz and show tunes, 94-year-old Tony Bennett has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease.

According to CNN, Bennett and his family are openly discussing the disease and its impact on the family with the public.

The legendary singer began showing symptoms of the disease in 2015, according to a feature report by AARP magazine.

Bennett was officially diagnosed with Alzheimer's in 2016, but the public had been unaware of his declining health because he kept on performing.

At the urging of his team of neurologists, Bennett has continued to sing and play music at home to help stimulate his brain in positive ways. He's also maintaining a special diet and exercising regularly with a trainer.

Bennett's wife, Susan, and his eldest son, Danny, also spoke to the magazine, describing how Bennett could perform even while confused.

"Both Susan and Danny said that backstage, Tony could seem utterly mystified about his whereabouts. But the moment he heard the announcer's voice boom 'Ladies and gentlemen -- Tony Bennett!' he would transform himself into performance mode, stride out into the spotlight, smiling and acknowledging the audience's applause," the piece described.

And he will still release music; a follow-up to 2014's "Cheek to Cheek," his collaboration with Lady Gaga, will be released this spring. The two recorded the latest songs between 2018 and early 2020, and according to the publication, Lady Gaga knew about his diagnosis when their recording sessions were filmed as part of a documentary.

"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. 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's last public performance was March 11, 2020, at the Count Basie Center for the Arts in Red Bank, New Jersey.

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