Tony Bennett, the legendary New York pop and jazz singer, has died aged 96.
Tony Bennett, the iconic pop and jazz singer who charmed audiences for more than eight decades with his timeless voice, has passed away at the age of 96. Known for his unforgettable performances of songs like "The Way You Look Tonight," "Body and Soul," and "(I Left My Heart) In San Francisco," Bennett's musical legacy is one of profound influence and widespread acclaim.
During his career, Bennett shared the stage with star performers ranging from Lady Gaga to Aretha Franklin, earning the admiration of his peers, including Frank Sinatra who hailed him as "the best singer in the business." His incredible talent saw him sell millions of records and win 20 Grammy Awards, including a lifetime achievement award.
Bennett's publicist, Sylvia Weiner, confirmed his passing in a statement to the Associated Press. She revealed that Bennett passed away in his beloved hometown of New York. Although a specific cause of death was not given, it's known that Bennett was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in 2016.
Tributes from fans and fellow performers have been pouring in from around the world. Singer Paul Young wrote on Twitter: "Ahhh, RIP Tony Bennett, truly one of the greats. An incredible singer live, saw him many times." George Takei, the renowned Star Trek actor, referred to Bennett as "a master of the American songbook," while musician Nile Rogers extended his heartfelt condolences to Bennett's family and friends.
Former First Lady Hillary Clinton paid tribute to Bennett, describing him as a "true talent, a true gentleman, and a true friend." She thanked Bennett for the memories, a sentiment shared by millions of his fans worldwide.
Born Anthony Dominick Benedetto to Italian immigrant parents, Bennett's early life was marked by hardship. His father died when he was just 10, and the family fell into poverty. Bennett began his musical journey as a singing waiter and studied music and painting at New York's School of Industrial Art.
Drafted into the US army in 1944, Bennett fought in France and Germany during World War II, an experience that left a deep impression on him. Following the war, his singing career took off under the stage name Joe Bari, culminating in his breakthrough in 1951 with the song "Because of You."
Bennett's career saw him transition from teenage icon to timeless legend, charting in the US in every decade of his life and leaving a discography that will continue to delight audiences for generations to come. His passing marks the end of an era, but his music and the impact he had on the industry will ensure his legacy endures.