Heartbreaking Tony Bennett update
Legendary singer Tony Bennett is living with Alzheimer's disease, his family have revealed in a heartbreaking new interview detailing the recording of his next album with Lady Gaga.
Bennett, 94, appeared "lost and bewildered" during recording sessions for the musical sequel to their 2014 Grammy-winning collaboration Cheek To Cheek, with Gaga sobbing openly as she witnessed his decline.
Reporter John Colapinto, writing for AARP, describes the veteran crooner's cognitive decline: "When I asked him, 'Are you excited about the new record with Gaga?' he stared at me silently," he wrote.
Other prompts and questions from Lady Gaga were met with uncertain, one-word answers.
He is reportedly still able to recognise his loved ones but he is "not always sure where he is or what is happening around him".
Colapinto reported that Bennett has still been able to sing beautifully in recording sessions for the album, but is "manifestly not able" to participate in promotional interviews for the yet-to-be-released album.
His eldest son Danny, 66, and wife Susan, 54, have instead made a difficult decision: To be open about his declining condition, so fans can understand why they won't see him promoting the new record. It's a decision they've had to make without Bennett's input, since Susan has said he's "incapable of understanding the disease, let alone making momentous decisions about whether to publicly disclose it".
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It's a heartbreaking update for an artist who has performed steadily since his breakthrough hit Because Of You in 1951. Since then, he's won 19 Grammy Awards and sold over 50 million records worldwide.
In recent years, Bennett revitalised his career with a series of collaboration projects, most recently with jazz singer Diana Krall on the 2018 album Love Is Here To Stay.
But it's his friendship and mentorship with Lady Gaga that has brought Bennett attention with a new generation in recent years.
Gaga said she viewed the family's decision to be open about Bennett's condition "just another gift that he can give to the world".
Originally published as Heartbreaking Tony Bennett update