American singer Tony Bennett has revealed he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2016 and has been battling the disease ever since.
The 94-year-old’s diagnosis was discussed in an interview with AARP magazine released today, February 1, which explains that the singer began to show signs of decline two years after his initial diagnosis, while he was recording the Cheek to Cheek album with Lady Gaga.
Bennett shared the article on Twitter, acknowledging that ‘life is a gift – even with Alzheimer’s’.
Thank you to Susan and my family for their support, and @AARP The Magazine for telling my story.
Bennett’s wife Susan also took part in the interview, during which she admitted that there is a lot about her husband that she misses. She said ‘he’s not the old Tony anymore’, but stressed that the 94-year-old reverts back to his ‘old’ self when he sings.
Susan said that he can still recognise family members, but he is not always sure of his whereabouts or what is happening around him.
Along with their eldest son Danny, Susan decided to break the silence around Bennett’s condition as they feel the singer is incapable of making the choice to do himself.
Gill Livingston, M.D., a University College London psychiatrist specialising in dementias, told AARP that the silence around Alzheimer’s only causes misconceptions and stereotypes regarding the disease, in turn prompting further stigmatisation and fear.
Commending the decision to open up about Alzheimer’s, she commented:
Panicking and hiding away is really unhelpful. What we want is for people to be as open as they can, open within themselves and within their families, so that they can be supported in the things they can’t do, and be helped to live a relatively full life. Support makes a great deal of difference.
Bennett rose to fame after singer and actor Pearl Bailey tapped him to sing with her at a Greenwich Village club, the Village Inn. Throughout his career, he has released iconic tracks such as Fly Me to the Moon and I Left My Heart In San Francisco.
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Topics: Celebrity, Alzheimers, Lady Gaga, Now