Tony Bennett and his family announced Monday that he has been living with Alzheimer's disease for the past four years.
In an extensive story published by AARP magazine, the 94-year-old said he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in 2016. "There's a lot about him that I miss," his wife Susan Crow said. "Because he's not the old Tony anymore. But when he sings, he's the old Tony."
Bennett's condition has progressed since he was diagnosed, but the story's writer John Colapinto added the singer has "been spared the disorientation that can prompt patients to wander from home, as well as the episodes of terror, rage or depression."
Bennett said he first became concerned about his health after he struggled to remember the names of people in 2015. “He is doing so many things, at 94, that many people without dementia cannot do,” said his doctor Gayatri Devi. “He really is the symbol of hope for someone with a cognitive disorder.”
"Life is a gift – even with Alzheimer’s," said Bennett on Twitter shortly after the news was shared. "Thank you to Susan and my family for their support, and @AARP The Magazine for telling my story."
Bennett released a collaborative album with Lady Gaga in 2014 titled Cheek to Cheek, and it's been revealed that the two made another record through his battle with Alzheimer's. His family has indicated it could be the last record Bennett releases, and it was among the reasons his family decided to open about his condition.
Bennett has received 36 Grammy nominations and 18 wins, his latest victory coming with 2016’s Tony Bennett Celebrates 90. His most recent album was 2018’s Diana Krall collaboration Love Is Here to Stay. Bennett last performed in public on March 11, 2020, at the Count Basie Center for the Arts in New Jersey.
On CBS This Morning, Gayle King spoke to Susan Crow about her husband's diagnosis: