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Tony Bennett Reveals He's Battling Alzheimer's Disease
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Tony Bennett has a loving and loyal caregiver -- his wife of nearly 14 years, Susan Benedetto. On Monday, Bennett's family announced that the 94-year-old musician has been battling Alzheimer's disease for the last four years, and Susan opened up in both an AARP The Magazine profile and with CBS This Morning about her husband's condition.
"We came home one night after the show and he says, 'Susan, I can't remember the musicians' names," Susan recalled to Gayle King on CBS This Morning. "And I just chalked it up to him being, at the time, late 80s, we forget things. And he said, 'No, no, this isn't right.'"
Shortly after, Bennett was diagnosed, but his family chose to keep his condition private for four years.
"He always likes to say he's in the business of making people feel good so he never wanted the audience to know if he had a problem," Susan said.
Sharing that Bennett is "not in any pain," his wife noted that her husband still works out five times a week and performs twice a week with a pianist.
“Singing is everything to him,” Susan told AARP. “Everything. It has saved his life many times. Many times. Through divorces and things."
"If he ever stops singing, that's when we'll know...," she said, breaking off after becoming emotional.
Susan also got emotional when discussing her husband's current state, saying, "There's a lot about him that I miss. Because he's not the old Tony anymore. But when he sings, he's the old Tony."
Susan shared with CBS This Morning that Bennett thankfully still knows who she is as well as his four children.
"According to his doctor, there's no reason to think that he will drastically decline," she said. "Obviously I'm his wife. I signed up for better or for worse. If somebody has to take care of him, I want it to be me."
18x-GRAMMY winner @ItsTonyBennett is battling Alzheimer's disease. His family revealed his 4-year battle in an @AARP article. @GayleKing spoke w/ his wife, Susan Benedetto, who says music still plays a major role in his life & why the family decided to share his diagnosis now. pic.twitter.com/taSobf8mLd
Susan views her role as her husband's caregiver as an honor.
"There is nothing that gives me greater joy or greater pride than [the fact] that I'm able to be with him and take care of him," she said. "When people say, 'What do you do?' I say, 'I take care of a national treasure.'"