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Tony Bennett dead at 96 in his hometown of New York

Tony Bennett, the legendary pop, jazz and big-band vocalist, has died after a seven-year battle with Alzheimer’s disease. He was 96.

Publicist Sylvia Weiner confirmed Bennett’s death, revealing he passed away in his hometown of New York. His official cause of death — just two weeks shy of his 97th birthday — has not yet been announced.

“I come from good Italian stock — but I’ve tried to stay fit through the years,” Bennett told me nearly 20 years ago.

At the time he was a spry 72, meeting and greeting concertgoers with swagger before a benefit performance in the blazing hot Sonoran Desert of Tucson, Arizona.

For two decades beyond that, the 20-time Grammy winner kept swinging as smoothly as ever — making history as one of the only artists to chart new albums each decade from the 1950s up to the present.

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