Jazz icon Tony Bennett says he is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and has secretly been living with
the disease since 2016. the 94 year old , announced he was diagnosed four years ago and has been battling
the condition ever since in an article with AARP magazine, published on Monday.
Tony Bennett said ‘life is a gift, even with Alzheimer’s’, and thanked his wife Susan Crow, 54, and his family
for their continued support.
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‘Life is a gift – even with Alzheimer’s. Thank you to [his wife] Susan and my family for their support, and
AARP the Magazine for telling my story’, he wrote on Twitter
After Bennett’s diagnosis in 2016, Bennett’s family revealed he suffers from both short-term and long-term
memory loss, but is still able to recognize friends and family members despite instances of confusion regarding
his whereabouts as well as trouble recognizing everyday objects.
Susan, whom Bennett married in 2007, recalled Bennett’s first suspicious that something was wrong
with his health, as she said he wanted to see a doctor in 2015 after he expressed difficulty in remembering
musicians’ names onstage.
“He would ask me, ‘What is Alzheimer’s?’ I would explain, but he wouldn’t get it. He’d tell me, ‘Susan,
I feel fine.’ That’s all he could process — that physically he felt great,” Susan explained. “So, nothing changed
in his life. Anything that did change, he wasn’t aware of.”
Bennett’s family further discussed his treatment, noting that the singer’s caregivers have put him on a
Mediterranean diet, medications, as well as a regimen of upper-body and aerobic exercises that his wife and
personal trainer help him through.
“Other areas of his brain are still resilient and functioning well,” said Bennett’s Lenox Hill doctor, Gayatri Devi,
who first diagnosed him in 2016. “He is doing so many things, at 94, that many people without dementia
cannot do. He really is the symbol of hope for someone with a cognitive disorder.”
Still, despite the worsening symptoms of the disease, Bennett is capping his illustrious career —
which includes 20 Grammys, two Emmys, a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, a Kennedy Center honor
since the release of his first album in 1952 — with new projects, as the AARP piece indicated his new album with
Gaga was recorded through his diagnosis between 2018 and 2020.
Devi encouraged Susan and Bennett’s eldest son, Danny, to keep Bennett immersed in the world of music,
as the art form has been shown to improve Alzheimer’s patients’ connection to their surroundings.
Bennett continued to tour after his diagnosis, often performing 90-minute sets on the road in recent years.