Tony Bennett, the beloved American jazz vocalist known for his iconic song “I Left My Heart in San Francisco” and winner of 20 Grammy Awards, has passed away. He died at the age of 96 in New York, as confirmed by his publicist Sylvia Weiner to the Associated Press. The cause of death was not disclosed, but it’s known that Bennett had been battling Alzheimer’s disease since 2016. He would have celebrated his 97th birthday on August 3.
Born Anthony Dominick Benedetto on August 3, 1926, in New York City, Bennett’s love for music was nurtured by his close-knit Southern Italian family from an early age. Sundays were particularly special for the young Tony, as relatives would gather and celebrate with songs, creating warm memories in the midst of challenging circumstances.
Despite personal ambitions, Bennett put his dreams on hold when drafted into the U.S. Army during World War II. However, upon his return to the U.S., he caught the attention of stage and screen star Bob Hope, who encouraged him to pursue a career in music. Under the name Tony Bennett, he made his mark as a jazz vocalist and embraced American pop standards throughout his illustrious career.
In 1962, Bennett recorded the song that would become his signature tune, “I Left My Heart in San Francisco,” earning him Grammy Awards for Record of the Year and Best Solo Male Performance. Over the years, his popularity ebbed and flowed, but he remained true to his timeless style, enchanting audiences with his smooth delivery.
The 1980s marked a resurgence in Bennett’s career, and in the 1990s, a new generation of music lovers discovered his talent, driving his songs back onto the charts. The early 2000s witnessed his collaboration with contemporary artists, such as Lady Gaga, with whom he released successful albums like “Cheek to Cheek” in 2014 and “Love for Sale” in 2021.
Throughout his life, Bennett experienced love and companionship, being married three times. In 2007, he tied the knot with Susan Crow, who stood by his side until the end. In 2021, Crow revealed that Bennett had been living with Alzheimer’s for five years, but despite the challenges, his voice still shone through when he sang.
Tony Bennett leaves behind a lasting legacy in the world of music, with his soulful voice and timeless melodies forever etched in the hearts of fans around the globe. He is survived by his wife and children.
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