New York (dpa) – “Life is a gift,” Tony Bennett recently announced on Twitter – “also with Alzheimer’s disease”. The American singer first showed symptoms of dementia in 2015 and was officially diagnosed in 2016, his family announced earlier this year.

Doctors have reportedly advised Bennett to continue making music and performing – and so the New York Times-named “America’s Treasure” crooner, who turns 95 this Tuesday, August 3, has several gigs announced by now. the end of the year after receiving her second dose of corona vaccine in February. He wants to celebrate his birthday with pop diva Lady Gaga with two concerts at Radio City Music Hall in New York.

As his special day approached, Bennett advocated supporting the “Exploring the Arts” charity founded by himself and his wife Susan, which supports children’s arts education. Birthdays have always been more important at Bennett: on his 90th birthday, there were galas with a shower of confetti, concerts with Billy Joel and for Hillary and Bill Clinton, and an autobiography called “Just Getting Started” (in German , for example: I am starting straight only).

There were also congratulations from stars such as Alec Baldwin, Bruce Willis, Carrie Underwood, Clint Eastwood, Whoopi Goldberg, Celine Dion, Keith Richards, Keith Urban, Willie Nelson, Heidi Klum and Justin Bieber. “You changed my life from black to pink,” enthused singer Lady Gaga, with whom Bennett released the album “Cheek to Cheek” in 2014, “You are my family”. Bennett is “the ultimate gentleman”. “He taught me so much about jazz. About life. ”Many stars also congratulated him on Bennett’s 94th birthday last year.

Frank Sinatra changed his life

Bennett once said in an interview that he owed his career to Frank Sinatra. “He changed my life. In an article in ‘Life Magazine’ he said that I was the best singer he had ever heard. I was so mediocre back then and had a record for a million bucks every now and then, but for me it was about being good, not the most famous. Then he called me the best he’s ever heard. And since then my gigs in the the whole world are sold out. ” As a thank you, Bennett founded a school for young musicians in New York City and named it Sinatra.

The school is located in her hometown of Astoria, in the Queens neighborhood of New York. Bennett was born here under the name Anthony Dominick Benedetto in 1926. His father died as a little boy. The mother took her with her two siblings as a seamstress. As a teenager, Bennett performed as a singer.

During World War II he served as a soldier, notably in Germany and France. He later said it was a “front row seat from hell”. Back in the USA he started his career with songs like “Because of You”, “Rags to Riches” then the hit that will accompany him all his life, “I Left My Heart in San Francisco”.

Central Park Painting

Besides, Bennett has always painted, mainly nature and Central Park in New York. The father of four lives directly south of the park with his third wife Susan, who is about 40 years his junior, and the dog “Happy”. As often as he can, he sits there on a bench and paints.

“Most people respect him when they see me painting. You stay calm. I come here very early in the morning. Then things get interesting later. It’s impossible on weekends. ”Bennett has already published two art books and several of his works have entered the collection of the Smithsonian Museum.

Bennett’s musical career, on the other hand, has seen its ups and downs. He couldn’t compete with rock in the ’70s, was on drugs and suffered from depression. “I had times of uncertainty and darkness, but I was able to break free again.” Bennett never wanted to change himself and his style, despite all the depths. “If something is good, it’s always good. You don’t have to change it. “

Return with Lady Gaga

In old age, the multiple Grammy winner made another brilliant comeback. The album “Cheek to Cheek” with Lady Gaga brought it back in the headlines and made it known to many young people in the first place. Bennett also sang with other younger artists such as Marc Anthony, Gloria Estefan, Christina Aguilera and Sheryl Crow.

Alzheimer’s disease has since changed Bennett, his wife Susan told AARP magazine earlier this year. “There are a lot of things I miss about him. Because he’s not old Tony anymore. But when he sings, it’s always old Tony. “