Speed Reads

'symbol of hope'

Tony Bennett's family reveals he's battling Alzheimer's

Legendary singer Tony Bennett has been battling Alzheimer's disease for over four years, his family has revealed.

Bennett's Alzheimer's battle was disclosed in an AARP magazine article on Monday, in which his family said he was diagnosed in 2016. His wife, Susan Benedetto, also opened up about caring for Bennett in an interview with CBS This Morning on Monday.

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

Benedetto told CBS she and her husband first suspected something wasn't right after they returned home from a show and he couldn't remember the names of the musicians who performed, and he was subsequently diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. But she went on to explain that the singer "doesn't think anything's wrong with him" because he's not in any pain and says he feels "great."

Dr. Gayatri Devi, who diagnosed Bennet, told AARP that he has "cognitive issues, but multiple other areas of his brain are still resilient and functioning well," and "he is doing so many things, at 94, that many people without dementia cannot do." Devi added, "He really is the symbol of hope for someone with a cognitive disorder." Another collaboration between Bennett and Lady Gaga is on the way, according to AARP, and his wife told CBS he's most lucid when he's performing.

"He's devoted his whole life to the great American song book," she said, "and now, the song book is saving him." Brendan Morrow