The ‘I Left My Heart in San Francisco’ singer was diagnosed with progressive disease in 2016 that affects memory and speech
Tony Bennett’s wife, Susan Benedetto, reveals how the star is coping with her health battles.
In February, Bennett and his family announced that the crooner had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. The 95-year-old performed on stage with Lady Gaga for the last time at the famous New York City venue Radio City Music Hall before officially retiring.
On Sunday, Benedetto elaborated on her husband’s condition during an appearance “60 minutes.”
“He recognizes me, thank God, his kids, you know, we’re blessed in so many ways,” she said. “he is so sweet.”
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“He doesn’t know he has it,” she said, referring to Bennett’s illness.
Despite the heartbreaking situation, audiences saw Bennett perform a song with his pianist in front of him without sheet music or lyrics.
“Tony likes to say that he’s in the business of making people feel good, and he still is,” Benedetto said.
“That’s all,” she shouted.
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Dr. Gaytari Devi, who diagnosed Bennett with Alzheimer’s, said during the broadcast that the singer “knows he is Tony Bennett and he knows how to behave like Tony Bennett.”
“It’s an area of the brain that’s such an innately hardwired part of his brain,” she said. “And it’s also an area of their brain that gives [him] real meaning and purpose in their lives, and it is infused with emotion.”
“I mean, the other thing about music that sets it apart is that it’s a part of the brain that’s very emotional,” she continued. “Music is located in different parts of the brain, including parts of the brain that deal with emotions, and therefore, it is easier to move when you listen to it.”
AARP Magazine It was previously reported that Bennett was diagnosed in 2016 with the progressive disease, which affects memory and speech. Alzheimer’s is known as a common form of age-related dementia.
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In August, the singer’s son Danny Bennett revealed Diversity That his father was dropping out of concerts in New York, Maryland, Connecticut, Arizona, Oklahoma and Canada.
“It’s not the singing aspect, but the traveling,” Danny told the outlet at the time. “He gets tired. We don’t want him to fall on stage, for example. We’re not worried about him being able to sing. We’re concerned, from a physical point of view … about human nature.”
Bennett first noticed something wrong in 2015 when he complained to his wife that she couldn’t remember the names of the musicians who were on stage with him during a performance.
“So, we gave him a list that he put on the piano,” his wife told AARP. “But he wasn’t happy with it.”
While Susan initially believed that memory lapses were part of the aging process, Bennett wanted to see a doctor.
The outlet referenced raw documentary footage from the recording sessions where Bennett was “quite muted.” When he spoke, his words were “stopped” and at times, he appeared “lost and confused”. Gaga, who was aware of her condition, kept her words short and simple as recommended by the experts.
Today Bennett gets a lot of support from his family. Devi told the outlet that she was impressed by Benedetto’s devotion as a caregiver. The couple tied the knot in 2007.
“I am humbled by the level of devotion,” explained Devi. “She also expects a lot from him. I think his background as a teacher helps, but she also loves him a lot. And he lives up to his expectations.”
While Bennett doesn’t stray like some people, Benedetto is always with him. His son Danny oversees the business affairs of the Chancellor. As for music, Bennett still has singing sessions at home to stay active.
“There’s a lot about him that I miss,” said her husband. “Because he’s not old Tony anymore. But when he sings, he’s old Tony.”