Tony Bennett’s wife, Susan Benedetto, has spoken out for the first time following the legendary singer’s death at the age of 96.
A statement shared on the singer’s Instagram Friday read, “Thank you to all the fans, friends and colleagues of Tony’s who celebrated his life and humanity and shared their love of him and his musical legacy.
“From his first performances as a singing waiter in Queens to his last performances in 2021 at Radio City Music Hall, Tony delighted in performing the songs he loved and making people happy. And as sad as today has been for all of us we can find joy in Tony’s legacy forever.”
The statement was signed by his wife, Benedetto, and one of his sons from his first marriage, Danny.
The “I Left My Heart in San Francisco” crooner died in his native New York City on July 21, a scant two weeks before his 97th birthday.
“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,” read a post shared on his Instagram account.
Benedetto, 56, was Bennett’s third wife.
In 1952, he married art student Patricia Beech, whom he had met the previous year after a nightclub performance. The former couple had two sons: Danny, who became his father’s manager, and Dae. They separated in 1965, and four years later Patricia sued for divorce on grounds of adultery. Their divorce was finalized in 1971.
Bennett had become involved with aspiring actress Sandra Grant while separated from his first wife, and they quietly wed in 1971. They welcomed two daughters together, Joanna and Antonia, before splitting in 1983.
In the late ’80s, the Grammy winner began a long-term relationship with Benedetto (née Crow).
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They finally tied the knot decades later in 2007 in a private civil ceremony witnessed by Mario Cuomo, the former governor of New York.
In his 2016 memoir, “Just Getting Started,” Bennett admitted that his and Benedetto’s 40-year age gap had been a sticking point at first but then melted away.
“Susan Benedetto has shown me how love gives you the confidence and courage to be your best self, and the inner peace and contentment that come with them,” he wrote.
The couple was often spotted together at events around the city and the US Open in addition to working on philanthropic projects.
Together, they founded Exploring the Arts, a charitable organization that supports and promotes arts education.
In 2001, they founded a performing arts high school in Queens, N.Y., named after Bennett’s longtime pal Frank Sinatra.
In a 2021 interview with AARP Magazine, Benedetto revealed that the “Rags to Riches” singer had been battling Alzheimer’s disease.
The singer’s memory began to falter in 2015 when he had trouble remembering fellow musicians’ names. A neurologist at Lenox Hill Hospital diagnosed him with the brain disorder a year later.
But Bennett’s condition declined two years later while recording an album with Lady Gaga.
Benedetto opened up about their home life in the interview.
“There’s a lot about him that I miss,” she shared. “Because he’s not the old Tony anymore … but when he sings, he’s the old Tony.”
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