Singer Tony Bennett dies aged 96

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Tony Bennett, the legendary New York pop and jazz singer, has died aged 96.

Bennett was known for songs such as The Way You Look Tonight, Body and Soul and (I Left My Heart) In San Francisco.

He also collaborated with star performers from Lady Gaga to Aretha Franklin and Frank Sinatra, who called him “the best singer in the business”.

During a career that spanned eight decades, the crooner sold millions of records and won 20 Grammys, including a lifetime achievement award.

His death was confirmed by his publicist Sylvia Weiner in a statement to the Associated Press.

She said he died in his hometown of New York. There was no specific cause of death, but Bennett had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2016.

  • Tony Bennett obituary: ‘The best singer in the business’

Born Anthony Dominick Benedetto, to a family of Italian-Americans, the singer released his first album in 1952.

He went on to chart in the US in every subsequent decade of his life, and remained perpetually cool enough to win over new legions of fans.

Bennett built a reputation for making timeless pop hits and, later, show tunes and big band numbers.

He enjoyed revival in the 1980s and 1990s, when Grammy Awards flooded in for the star, then in his sixties.

In an interview with the Independent in 2008, Bennett said he had not been surprised by his renewed success.

“Good music is good music,” he said. “I’m not concerned with whether someone who listens to me is old or young. In fact, in many ways, I’m not interested in the young at all.

“I’m interested in age. People learn to live properly when they get of an age, you know? The late Duke Ellington once said to me that he was really offended by the word category.

“Music has no category; it’s either good or it isn’t, and I sing good songs, great songs, written by the best songwriters. It’s that kind of quality that makes them last. Trust me, people will be singing these songs forever.”

Five years after being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, Bennett performed his final shows alongside Gaga.

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