Tony Bennett was ‘still singing’ days before his death

Tony Bennett had been singing and playing piano in the days leading up to his death — despite his battle with Alzheimer’s disease until the very end.

The iconic crooner died at the age of 96 in his hometown of New York City on Friday, just weeks before his birthday. Bennett’s publicist, Sylvia Weiner, confirmed that there was no specific cause of death.

The Jazz legend was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2016. “There’s a lot about him that I miss,” his third wife, Susan Benedetto, told AARP Magazine in 2021 while discussing his health news publicly for the first time. “Because he’s not the old Tony anymore … but when he sings, he’s the old Tony.”

After the announcement, he thanked his family, tweeting at the time, “Life is a gift – even with Alzheimer’s.”

“Tony left us today but he was still singing the other day at his piano and his last song was, ‘Because of You,’ his first #1 hit,” his team shared in a statement on Instagram Friday.

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“Tony, because of you we have your songs in our heart forever. ❤.”

The song, written by Arthur Hammerstein and Dudley Wilkinson, was first recorded by Larry Clinton in 1940. Bennett recorded his own version under Columbia Records in 1951, and the ballad topped the charts upon its release.

Bennett would go on to sing the hit over the span of his legendary musical career, including at his last-ever public performances.

During his health battle, Bennett was still able to continue performing, touring and putting out albums.

It wasn’t until August 2021 that he sang in his last public performances at Radio City Music Hall with Lady Gaga. He then retired from performing and canceled his planned tour with Gaga amid his ailing health.

He and the “Poker Face” singer, 37, released two albums together:  2014’s “Cheek to Cheek” and 2021’s “Love for Sale.”

“I’m so honored to be his companion in music and his friend,” Gaga wrote on Instagram in November 2021.

She continued, “Thank you to the public for loving us, we surely love each other, and you. Believe in love and partnership, even with 60 years between us, and Alzheimer’s, there is nothing like the magic of music.”

“I love you Tony, and the world loves you too. How could they not?

Bennett’s decades-long career saw him release more than 70 albums, sell more than 50 million records worldwide an win 20 Grammys and two Emmys.

Known for his smooth voice and pop hits including “I Left My Heart in San Francisco,” “Fly Me to the Moon” and “Steppin’ Out With My Baby,” Bennett is survived by his wife Susan Benedetto, his sons Danny and Dae and daughters Johanna and Antonia and 9 grandchildren.

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