Tony Bennett Reveals He's Battling Alzheimer's Disease

In an interview with AARP, Tony Bennett revealed he's been in battle with Alzheimer's disease for the past four years. Keep scrolling for the details.

By Mona Thomas Feb 01, 2021 4:42 PMTags
Watch: Tony Bennett Has Been Battling Alzheimer's for 4 Years

Tony Bennett's family is opening up about health.

During an interview with AARP, which was published on Monday, Feb. 1, his wife Susan Crow and son Danny shared that the 18-time Grammy winner has been battling Alzheimer's for the past four years.

The 94-year-old crooner took to Twitter to share the article as well. In the caption, he wrote, "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."

At the time of the interview, the writer described Tony as expressionless. His wife of 14 years Susan is the star's full-time caregiver and regulates his strict diet and exercise schedule to slow down the progression of memory loss.

She and Danny work as a team to assist Tony's living. She expressed during the interview, "I have my moments and it gets very difficult. It's no fun arguing with someone who doesn't understand you. But I feel badly talking about it because we are so much more fortunate than so many people with this diagnosis."

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Susan went on to share how "content and happy" Tony remained even after receiving his diagnosis. She explained, "But that's because he already didn't understand. He would ask me, ‘What is Alzheimer's?' I would explain, but he wouldn't get it. He'd tell me, ‘Susan, I feel fine.' That's all he could process — that physically he felt great. So, nothing changed in his life. Anything that did change, he wasn't aware of."

In a statement to NBC, Danny shared, "Managing my father for the last 40 years has been a privilege and an amazing journey. He never ceases to inspire me with his passion and dedication to all that life has to offer. The last four years has been no exception. He continues to sing and stay fit on a daily basis. I speak for the whole family in thanking his wonderful wife Susan for all the support and love she has given to him. Our wish is that by openly sharing his challenges with Alzheimer's That we will give hope to all that face this condition and will help end the stigma surrounding this disease. Above all else, we want to be able to help raise awareness, advocate for advancing new therapies and one day soon, finding a cure."

During an interview with CBS This Morning's Gayle King, Tony's wife Susan gave more insight into his condition and why the family chose to keep the news a secret for years.

"He always likes to say he's in the business of making people feel good and so he never wanted the audience to know if he had a problem," Susan explained. "But obviously, you know, as long as things have progressed, it becomes more and more obvious when you interact with Tony that something is up. And it seemed now was the right time."

Gayle asked if he's currently in any pain, to which Susan immediately responded, "No, he's not in any body, and that's why he doesn't think anything is wrong with him. He's like, ‘Susan, nothing hurts. I feel great.' You know, he works out five times a week. He sings twice a week with a pianist that comes over. He only understands if something is an ouch, then there's a problem."

Susan went on to recall the first time the star noticed something was amiss back in 2016, when he returned from a performance and expressed not being able to remember any of the musicians' names.

"I just chalked it up to him being, you know at the time, late 80s; we forget things," she said. "And he said, ‘No, this isn't right." He was diagnosed shortly after that conversation.

Susan, who shares four children with Tony, confirmed that he's still aware of who she and their kids are. The proud mom is also Tony's full-time caregiver, which she expressed, "If someone has to take care of him, I'd want it to be me. There's really nothing that gives me greater joy or pride than I'm able to be with him and take care of him."

She added, "When people say, ‘What do you do?' I say, ‘I take care of a national treasure.'"

As the coronavirus pandemic is still rampant, Susan noted that things have gotten "a little worse," but at this time Tony's doctors don't believe he will "drastically decline."