Lady Gaga has broken her silence on the death of her “real true friend” Tony Bennett.
The I Left My Heart in San Francisco hitmaker passed away on 21 July aged 96 following a battle with Alzheimer’s disease, and his close collaborator paid tribute to the crooner in an Instagram post on Sunday night.
“I will miss my friend forever. I will miss singing with him, recording with him, talking with him, being on stage together,” she wrote beside a photo of them hugging. “Though there were 5 decades between us, he was my friend. My real true friend. Our age difference didn’t matter– in fact, it gave us each something neither of us had with most people. We were from two different stages in life entirely–inspired.”
Bennett was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2016, although this was not made public until early 2021. Despite his decline, he recorded tracks with Gaga between 2018 and early 2020 for their second collaborative album, 2021’s Love for Sale, and briefly resumed performing for a series of farewell shows with the Poker Face singer later that year.
“I’ve been grieving the loss of Tony for a long time. We had a very long and powerful goodbye,” the 37-year-old wrote of his illness. “Losing Tony to Alzheimer’s has been painful but it was also really beautiful.
“All I wanted was for Tony to remember how much I loved him and how grateful I was to have him in my life. But, as that faded slowly I knew deep down he was sharing with me the most vulnerable moment in his life that he could–being willing to sing with me when his nature was changing so deeply. I’ll never forget this experience. I’ll never forget Tony Bennett.”
Gaga concluded the heartfelt post by urging her followers to take care of their elders and to “pay attention to silence”.
“Some of my musical partner and I’s most meaningful exchanges were with no melody at all,” she wrote. “I love you Tony. Love, Lady.”
Gaga and Bennett released their first collaborative album, Cheek to Cheek, in 2014.