Tony Bennett retires from performing aged 95: 'A hard decision to make'

The legendary crooner, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2016, cancels his remaining shows for 2021 on doctors’ orders

American singer Tony Bennett is a 70-year veteran of giving performances on stage
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He is far past the typical retirement age, but Tony Bennett is finally stepping back from the stage.

The American singer, 95, has announced he will no longer perform live, months after revealing he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2016.

The I Left My Heart In San Francisco star has cancelled his remaining concerts scheduled for 2021, after performing two sold-out shows with Lady Gaga at New York's Radio City Music Hall last week.

Bennett's son, Danny, revealed the "hard decision" to cancel the remaining shows had been made based on advice from doctors.

“This was a hard decision for us to make, as he is a capable performer. This is, however, doctors’ orders. His continued health is the most important part of this, and when Tony’s wife, Susan, heard the doctors, she said, ‘Absolutely not'," Danny said in a statement.

A 70-year veteran of the stage, Bennett scored his first US number one with Because of You in 1951, and went on to record a number of pop and jazz classics.

The star has many Grammy Awards, including a Lifetime Achievement Award presented in 2001, to his name, as well as a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Kennedy Centre Honors and more than 50 million records sold.

Bennett's son, who has acted as his manager for 40 years, said the strain of touring means the American singer "gets tired".

"Doing concerts now is just too much for him. We don't want him to fall on stage, for instance – something as simple as that," said Danny.

"We're not worried about him being able to sing. We are worried, from a physical standpoint ... about human nature. Tony's 95."

Bennett is set to release his 61st studio album Love for Sale, described as his last, on October 1.

Once again a collaboration with Bad Romance superstar Lady Gaga, the album features the duo singing Cole Porter compositions as duets, as well as solo performances. The pair released their first full-length collaboration, Cheek to Cheek, in 2014.

Bennett's cancelled 2021 tour dates included shows in New York, Arizona, Oklahoma and Canada. Ticketholders were urged on Thursday to check with venues for information regarding refunds.

Bennett's August shows with Lady Gaga at New York's renowned Radio City Music Hall, meanwhile, were filmed for broadcast at a later date.

- Additional reporting by AP

Updated: August 13, 2021, 12:44 PM