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Legendary singer Tony Bennett has died aged 96

Legendary singer Tony Bennett has died aged 96

The jazz icon, who rose to fame singing big show tunes and traditional pop numbers, has passed away

Tony Bennett, the iconic musician who rose to fame singing American musical standards and traditional pop has died aged 96.

Bennett, who was the last of the great saloon singers, won many accolades throughout his career, including 20 Grammy Awards, a Lifetime Achievement Award and two Primetime Emmy Awards.

Since he started his career in 1936, Bennett has sold more than 50 million records worldwide.

Tony Bennett has passed away aged 96.
ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images

The father-of-four began singing at an early age and after fighting in the final stages of World War II as a U.S. Army infantryman, he signed with Columbia Records and released his first number-one song 'Because of You' in 1951. He then developed his singing approach to incorporate jazz and released the albums The Beat of my Heart in 1957 and Basie Swings, Bennett Sings in 1959.

Bennett recorded and released his signature song, 'I Left My Heart in San Francisco' in 1962. His career experienced a downturn as rock music took hold on the zeitgeist but he managed to stage a comeback in the late 1980s and 1990s.

Tony Bennett released two albums with Lady Gaga.
Marco Piraccini\Archivio Marco Piraccini\Mondadori via Getty Images

He continued to release popular work into the 21st century and he experienced another renaissance later in his career when he collaborated with pop music icon Lady Gaga. The two jazz lovers released two collaborative albums; Cheek to Cheek in 2014 and Love for Sale in 2021, the latter came out the same year Bennett retired.

Cheek to Cheek features their rendition of 'The Lady Is a Tramp' which was recorded back in 2011 after they met for the first time at the Robin Hood Foundation gala in New York City.

Bennett and Gaga toured together to promote Cheek to Cheek throughout 2014 and 2015. The release of Love for Sale in 2021 led to a number of records broken, with Bennett becoming the oldest person to release an album of new material at the age of 95 years and 60 days according to the Guinness World Records.

Tony Bennett with his wife Susan raising awareness about Alzheimer's.
@itstonybennett/Instagram

In February 2021, it was reported that Bennett had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2016 although he continued to perform and record until the Covid-19 pandemic in an announcement shared via AARP Magazine.

The article, which included an interview with Bennett’s wife Susan Crow, said the crooner had been spared of many of the symptoms of the disease up to that point, including disorientation and episodes of terror, rage or depression.

Bennett’s retirement was announced in August 2021.

He is survived by his wife Susan Crow and his four children; Danny Bennett, Antonia Bennett, Dae Bennett and Joanna Bennett.

Featured Image Credit: Houston Chronicle/Hearst Newspapers via Getty Images / Contributor/Mondadori Portfolio / Contributor

Topics: Music, US News, News