At the age of 96, the legendary New York pop and jazz singer, Tony Bennett, has passed away. Throughout his illustrious career, Bennett was celebrated for iconic songs like “The Way You Look Tonight,” “Body and Soul,” and “(I Left My Heart) In San Francisco.”
Throughout his eight-decade career, Tony Bennett collaborated with an array of star performers, from Lady Gaga to Aretha Franklin and Frank Sinatra, who praised him as “the best singer in the business.”
His exceptional talent resonated with audiences, leading to the sale of millions of records and the acquisition of 20 Grammy Awards, including a prestigious lifetime achievement award.
Pop and jazz icon Tony Bennet dies
While no specific cause of death was mentioned, it is worth noting that Bennett had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2016.
Tony Bennett is survived by his wife, Susan Crow, and four children: Danny, Dae, Joanna, and Antonia.
After learning of Tony Bennetts’s death, numerous stars have publicly paid tribute to the late singer.
Elton John posted on Instagram “So sad to hear of Tony’s passing. Without doubt the classiest singer, man, and performer you will ever see. He’s irreplaceable. I loved and adored him. Condolences to Susan, Danny and the family.”
“Ahhh, RIP Tony Bennett, truly one of the greats. An incredible singer live, saw him many times,” posted singer Paul Young on Twitter.
Former US first lady Hillary Clinton tweeted, “Tony Bennett was a true talent, a true gentleman, and a true friend. We’ll miss you, Tony, and thanks for all the memories.”
Life and career
Tony Bennett, born Anthony Dominick Benedetto to Italian immigrant parents, faced early hardship with his father’s death when he was just 10 years old, leading the family into poverty.
As a teenager, he worked as a singing waiter before pursuing studies in music and painting at New York’s School of Industrial Art. He served in the US Army during World War Two, an experience he found deeply distressing.
Bennett’s breakthrough came in 1951 with the song “Because of You,” which marked his first number one hit. Throughout his career, he continued to produce chart-topping swinging pop hits, such as “Blue Velvet” and “Rags to Riches,” as well as show tunes and big band numbers. His 1962 rendition of “I Left My Heart in San Francisco” earned him two Grammy Awards, catapulting his star even higher.
Despite facing personal challenges, including addiction and failed marriages, Bennett persevered in his music career, aided by hiring his son Danny as his manager. In the 1980s and 1990s, he experienced a revival, winning numerous Grammy awards.
Collaborating with younger artists, including Amy Winehouse, Queen Latifah, and Lady Gaga, further solidified his reputation as a beloved and influential musician. In 2014, his joint album with Lady Gaga, “Cheek to Cheek,” made him the oldest living act to top the US charts at 88 years old.
Even after his 90th birthday, Bennett expressed his love for performing and continued to captivate audiences. In 2021, five years after his Alzheimer’s diagnosis in 2016, he performed his final shows with Lady Gaga, solidifying his place as a cherished icon, especially among younger fans.