Ozzy Osbourne, Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons and Richie Sambora are among the rockers who have reacted on social media to the passing of Tony Bennett. The legendary singer died earlier today (Friday, July 21) at age 96, according to his longtime publicist Sylvia Weiner.
In 2016, Bennett was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, the most common form of age-related dementia.
He had reportedly been singing and playing piano in the days leading up to his death.
With worldwide record sales in the millions and dozens of platinum and gold albums to his credit, Bennett was a musician who touched the hearts and souls of audiences with his legendary vocals and charming stage presence. His long list of achievements, spanning over 60 years, includes 19 Grammy Awards, including the prestigious Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, making this artist a true international treasure. His signature tunes, such as "Steppin' Out With My Baby" and "I Left My Heart In San Francisco" form part of the fabric of American music culture.
Bennett's 85th birthday in 2011 marked the release of "Duets II" and made music history by making Tony the oldest artist to ever have a No. 1 CD on the Billboard album charts. "Duets II" followed up "Tony Bennett Duets: An American Classic" CD, released in 2006. 2012 marked the 50th anniversary of the singer's signature song "I Left My Heart in San Francisco", as well as the release of a documentary film, "The Zen Of Bennett", created and conceived by Tony's son and manager Danny Bennett. Bennett also authored his fourth book, "Life Is A Gift", released in 2012 and entered The New York Times Best Seller list. In 2014, Bennett released a collaborative album with Lady Gaga, "Cheek To Cheek", featuring these two legendary artists performing jazz standards. The album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Album charts, making Bennett the oldest musical artist, at the age of 88, to have an album top the Billboard 200, and won the Grammy Award in the Best Traditional Pop Album category. Tony Bennett is a Kennedy Center honoree, an NEA Jazz Master, and a recipient of the United Nation’s Humanitarian and Citizen of the World honors. Bennett was also a talented painter. He had exhibited his work in galleries around the world, and three of his original paintings are part of the permanent collection in the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C.
Throughout his career, Tony Bennett put his heart and time into supporting humanitarian concerns and joined with Dr. Martin Luther King in the historic Selma march in 1965. His many charitable works include raising millions towards diabetes and lending his artwork to raise funds for the American Cancer Society. In 2007, he was honored by the United Nations. Together with his wife Susan, Tony Bennett established the charitable organization Exploring The Arts (ETA),to support arts education in public high schools. Tony founded Frank Sinatra School Of The Arts, a New York City public high school in his hometown of Astoria, Queens.
He is survived by his wife, Susan Benedetto, his two sons, Danny and Dae Bennett, his daughters Johanna Bennett and Antonia Bennett and nine grandchildren.