Tony Bennett Has Alzheimer’s
The 94 year-old and his family have kept it a secret for 4 years.
According to an article in AARP, the iconic American singer, diagnosed with this form of dementia in 2016, is unable to remember what the weather is like after having just come from a walk outside. He doesn’t seem to be aware of the new album he’s releasing with Lady Gaga.
Despite the disease, Bennett is still singing. It’s something that helps slow the progression of the disease.
Gayatri Devi, M.D., a neurologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan, who diagnosed Bennett in 2016, says despite “cognitive issues… multiple other areas of his brain are still resilient and functioning well. 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.”
Lady Gaga, a protegé of Bennett since around 2011, when they released the duet “The Lady is the Tramp”, has known about his condition as she has been working with Bennett on a new album. Bennett’s son, Danny, checked in with Gaga to make sure she was OK with the family making the diagnosis public, “because she watches his back all the time.” Danny says Gaga responded “Absolutely, it’s just another gift that he can give to the world.”
The Bennett/Gaga album is due to be released this spring. It was recorded between 2018 and early 2020.
READ the beautiful article by John Colapinto in AARP for the whole story.
The Alzheimer’s Association describes the disease like this:
Alzheimer’s is the most common cause of dementia, a general term for memory loss and other cognitive abilities serious enough to interfere with daily life. Alzheimer’s disease accounts for 60-80% of dementia cases.
Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease, where dementia symptoms gradually worsen over a number of years. In its early stages, memory loss is mild, but with late-stage Alzheimer’s, individuals lose the ability to carry on a conversation and respond to their environment.