Tony Bennett dies at 96, leaves ‘irreplaceable' impression on celebrities, admirers

Elton John, Former President Clinton, and the San Francisco Giants are among the first to honor the legendary musician and his legacy on social media.

Celebrities, friends, and admirers are mourning the death of Grammy winner and beloved musical legend Tony Bennett whose career spanned over seven decades. Bennett, who would have turned 97 in two weeks, died in his hometown of New York, his publicist Sylvia Weiner told the Associated Press.

Though the cause of death was not immediately disclosed, Bennett has been battling Alzheimer's disease since 2016, his wife Susan Benedetto confirmed in 2021. The pop vocalist won 20 Grammy Awards, including a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, two Primetime Emmy Awards, and the hearts of many throughout his lifelong career.

Bennett has left a lasting impression on friends and fellow artists and charmed younger generations of admirers through his duets with contemporary pop stars such as Michael Bublé, John Legend, and Lady Gaga. He performed his final concerts with Lady Gaga in New York City in August 2021, celebrating the announcement of their second album together and Bennett's 95th birthday, NBC News reported.

In a 2014 interview with Parade to promote their then-released album "Cheek to Cheek," Gaga said her friendship with Bennett "reaffirmed everything [she] knew."

"Six months ago I didn’t even want to sing anymore," Gaga said. "I tell Tony every day that he saved my life."

The singer/songwriter has not publicly commented on Bennett's passing.

British music icon Elton John, who collaborated with Bennett in a remake of Bennett's 1953 single "Rags to Riches," posted a photo with the "irreplaceable" crooner on Instagram.

"So sad to hear of Tony's passing. Without doubt the classiest singer, man, and performer you will ever see. He's irreplaceable. I loved and adored him. Condolences to Susan, Danny and the family," the musician wrote in the caption.

John recently performed his last concert two weeks ago in Stockholm, Sweden, bidding farewell to his 50-year touring career.

Bennett's duet partner in the song "It Had to Be You" and "American Idol" winner Carrie Underwood paid tribute in an Instagram post, clipping a slideshow of photos of Bennett and herself.

"Rest in peace, Tony. You were the epitome of a gentleman with a God given one-of-a-kind voice. It was truly a great honor of my career and of my life to get to share the stage with you...," Underwood wrote.

In another collaboration with younger pop stars, Bennett dueted Canadian singer Michael Bublé in a remake version of his 1956 song "Just In Time." Bublé offered his condolences on Instagram, citing Bennett as his "hero."

"Having my hero take me under his wing was one of the greatest moments of my life and career. How did I get so lucky to kneel at the feet of the master for 2 decades?" he wrote.

He continues, "Tony, I'll never stop learning from you, and I promise you I'll do my best to keep the music we cherish alive. Rest in peace."

The previous leaders of the White House, Former Presidents Clinton and Obama, have also offered their condolences. Bennett performed at both of the presidents' inaugural ceremonies in 1993 and 2013.

In a joint statement, the Clintons commemorated Bennett as a "serious painter," "dedicated philanthropist" and "great citizen."

"We loved and admired Tony Bennett and marveled at the breadth of his talent and depth of his commitment to creating a better world," the statement reads.

Former President Obama has also taken to Twitter to express his gratitude.

"Tony Bennett was an iconic songwriter and entertainer who charmed generations of fans. He was also a good man — Michelle and I will always be honored that he performed at my inauguration. We're thinking of his wife Susan, his kids, and everyone who is missing him today," the former president said.

"How to Get Away with Murder" and "The Woman King" actress Viola Davis commemorated Bennett's "greatness" via an Instagram reel.

"Your journey is complete sir," she wrote in the caption.

"Star Trek" actor and activist George Takei also took to social media to mourn the loss of Bennett, tweeting "[Bennett] may have left his Heart in San Francisco, but he won all of our hearts."

Broadway star and SAG-AFTRA President Fran Drescher said her farewell on Twitter, praising Bennett as "sweet like sugar" and "a deeply feeling, empathetic human being."

Bennett has not only enjoyed deep affection from admirers and fellow artists from show business and politics but the legend of the Great American Songbook is also mourned by the sports community.

The San Francisco Giants paid their tributes via Twitter Friday.

"The #SFGiants are saddened to hear of the loss of Tony Bennett, a true legend whose music will live on at Oracle Park. We cherish the memories of his friendship & many visits. We will remember him for leaving his heart in San Francisco. Our deepest condolences to his family," the team wrote.

Bennett is survived by his wife Susan, four children, and nine grandchildren, the Associated Press reported.

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