Tony Bennett has sadly passed away at the age of 96 in New York City after a battle with Alzheimer’s disease.He is survived by his wife Susan Crow and his four children Antonia, Danny, Joanna, and Dae from his previous marriages.
The legendary singer’s family revealed in February 2021 that he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2016. The disease is characterized by the loss of memory and other mental functions. Susan and her stepchildren spoke in depth to AARP about Tony’s battle, revealing that while he was fortunate to receive care, he was still not quite the same. “There’s a lot about him that I miss,” Susan said. “Because he’s not the old Tony anymore. But when he sings, he’s the old Tony.”
Tony, whose impressive career began in the 1940s, was first discovered by legendary comedian Bob Hope, and became a legend in his own right. Touching the lives of acts like Elton John, Amy Winehouse and even Lady Gaga, his contributions to music as a whole are breathtaking.
Born 1926 in Astoria, Queens, Tony served in WWII and began performing with military bands while in Europe. Once returning to New York City, he entered the nightclub circuit and began performing, becoming an instant sensation (obvious to all of us). Performing under the stage name Joe Bari, Bob Hope asked him for his real name — Anthony Dominick Benedetto. He told him Tony Bennett was much better, and you know, he was right.
Tony’s career was unsurmountable. The winner of 17 Grammy awards and seven Emmy awards for his 2007 prime-time special Tony Bennett: An American Classic, he proved that he was an unstoppable force, no matter the generation. His signature classic “I Left My Heart In San Francisco” won him two of those Grammy awards alone.
An even more impressive feat, Tony was only one of a few artists to have songs charting in the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, and the first two decades of this century. He reached a new generation in 2014 by collaborating with Lady Gaga on Cheek To Cheek, an album of classic duet covers. The dynamic duo released their second collaborative album Love for Sale in 2021.
And as if he wasn’t impressive enough, Tony left a legacy of dedicated charity work. Tony was frequent donator to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and the American Cancer Society. He was a passionate environmental and social activist, having marched with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Selma. With wife Susan, he founded Exploring The Arts and the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts. This incredible man will be sorely missed, for his music and beyond.