Veteran singer Tony Bennett passes away at 96

Tony Bennett. (Xinhua/Andrew Soong/IANS)

Los Angeles, July 23 (IANS) Grammy winning legendary singer Tony Bennett has died at the age of 96, just two weeks before his birthday.

His death was confirmed by his publicist Sylvia Weiner, who said that he died in his hometown of New York, reports The Mirror. Bennett, who collaborated with Amy Winehouse and Lady Gaga in the last chapter of his astonishing career, had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2016. The cause of his death is yet to be confirmed.

Tributes have already been pouring in for the last of the great saloon singers on Twitter, with actor George Takei writing: “The great Tony Bennett has passed away at the age of 96. He was the last of his kind, a master of the American songbook. He may have left his Heart in San Francisco, but he won all of our hearts, from Sinatra to Lady Gaga. Be at peace, and sing to us now from the stars, Tony.”

Singer Paul Young shared a picture of Tony and wrote: “Ahhh, RIP Tony Bennett, truly one of the greats. The first album I had was Tony Bennett sings 10 Rodgers and Hart songs, from when my record company in 1976 let me do a ‘bank raid’ of their vinyl stock and I was a fan from there on in. An incredible singer live, saw him many times.”

One fan commented: “Rest in Peace what a wonderful life well lived. You were so incredibly here in San Francisco,” while another wrote: “Tony Bennett passing. This one hurts.”

A third fan reminisced about meeting Tony: “In a job where I met the best and worst of the music industry. Tony Bennett was by far the most charming, charismatic, sharpest dressed, biggest star of all.”

Tony was last pictured trying to raise awareness of Alzheimer’s disease on June 20. In a snap shared on Instagram, Tony was seen next to his wife Susan as they held a sign which read: “#ENDALZ.”

He captioned the post: “June is Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month. #GoPurple with Susan and I, and @alzassociation in honor of the more than 6 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s. #ENDALZ.”

Tony continued to perform and record his music until 2021 when he was forced to retire under doctor’s orders. Tony’s son Danny Bennett confirmed his father’s retirement following the singer’s sold-out shows at New York’s Radio City Music Hall with Lady Gaga.

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