The world lost an indisputable legend on Friday (July 21). Tony Bennett, the peerless interpreter of the Great American Songbook whose career spanned seven decades, died at his home in New York, according to a statement from his management company. The 20-time Grammy winner was 96 years old.
Bennett’s lengthy career found him uniting with an incredible collection of artists across eras and genres, including Aretha Franklin, Amy Winehouse, Lady Gaga, Queen Latifah, Mariah Carey, Barbra Streisand, Juanes, Elvis Costello, George Michael, Stevie Wonder and more.
Since the news of his death broke, celebrities and peers have been posting tributes in celebration of the renowned vocalist and his towering career. “Rest in peace, Tony. You were the epitome of a gentleman with a God given one-of-a-kind voice. It was truly a great honor of my career and of my life to get to share the stage with you,” wrote Carrie Underwood on Instagram. The country star appeared on Bennett’s 2011 Billboard 200-topping Duets II album.
Oscar and Grammy winner Elton John mused on Instagram, “Without doubt the classiest singer, man, and performer you will ever see. He’s irreplaceable. I loved and adored him.”
Even politicians such as former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton paid tribute to the music icon, writing on Instagram, “A true talent, a true gentleman, and a true friend. We’ll miss you, Tony, and thanks for all the memories.”
Paul Williams, the chairman of the board and president of ASCAP, also remembered the late musician. “Tony was a spectacular singer with a charismatic tone, equal parts grace and grit, and he knew how to inhabit a song,” he said in a statement shared with Billboard. “There was perhaps no greater champion of great songwriting. He spent seven decades introducing the world to the Great American Songbook, reinterpreting it for new generations and giving 100% with every unforgettable performance. Tony, we’ll never forget your voice and your timeless recordings. You left our hearts in perfect rapture.”
Read on for more heartfelt tributes to Tony Bennett from musicians and other celebrities below:
“Very sad to hear about Tony Bennett’s passing. Rest in Peace” — Ozzy Osbourne on Twitter.
“Tony was one of the most splendid people who ever lived. Kind, loving, talented and generous, he never let us down. Sending my love to Susan, Danny and their family and friends. Tony was a true champion.” — Nancy Sinatra on Twitter.
“Just heard about the great Tony Bennett passing. What a legacy of not only superb timeless music, but a class act study in cool, grace, and elegance.” — Keith Urban on Twitter.
“May you Rest in Peace, Tony Bennett!” — Keith Richards on Twitter.
“My most heartfelt condolences go out to Tony Bennett’s family and friends. They’re also my emotional family and friends.” — Nile Rodgers on Twitter.
“Sad to hear about Tony Bennett. His remarkable voice and timeless songs have touched the hearts of generations… A true icon and I was honored to get to work with him. Our hearts are with his family and friends.” — Tim McGraw on Instagram.
“Very shocked with the news of Tony Bennett’s death. I only met him for one day but it seemed like I had known him for a lifetime. He was one of those people that it doesn’t take long to love them. Its a big lost. My condolences to the family and friends. Apart from a great crooner, we have lost a great human being. How lucky I am to have met him!” — Franco De Vita on Instagram (in Spanish).
“My condolences to the entire Bennet family on the passing of the great Tony. I had the opportunity to meet a generous and extremely talented being of light, who taught me a lot in a short time. The best memories of Mr. Tony Bennet, including a cassette with his singing lessons that he gave me, will live with me forever.” — Juanes on Instagram.
“Tony Bennett is one of the greatest vocalists, storytellers and interpreters of all time. To say he was an important part of who I became is an understatement. My grandpa was constantly playing Tony Bennett records when I was growing up, and it was the honor of a lifetime to learn from him. Having my hero take me under his wing was one of the greatest moments of my life and my career. How did I get so lucky to kneel at the feet of the master for 2 decades? Tony, I’ll never stop learning from you, and I promise you I’ll do my best to keep the music we cherish alive. Rest in peace.” — Michael Buble on Instagram.
“I’ve been a fan of the incomparable @itstonybennett since I was a child. With his velvet voice he made me long for San Francisco when I couldn’t even find it on a map and, throughout his lifetime, has beautified our world with his songs and paintings. His voice was forever young, pristine, elegant and relevant for longer than any other singer I can think of. I will be forever grateful to have been in his orbit. My prayers & condolences to his beautiful family who have loved and cared for him and for his countless fans throughout the world who will keep his memory alive.” — Gloria Estefan on Instagram.
“Tony Bennett, wonderful artist! Today we remember his beautiful voice, his great career and legacy. The Lord grant peace to your family and friends!” — Juan Luis Guerra on Instagram.
“On the path of music there are moments that are never forgotten. More than a decade ago I was invited to participate in the studio album ‘Viva Duets’ together with this great American music artist, Mr. @itstonybennett. A beautiful musical project that celebrates the life of a music icon that began his musical history more than 8 decades ago. During the recording of the song ‘The Way You Look Tonight’ one of his greatest classics, I lived beautiful moments next to this teacher of teachers, which I will treasure in my heart. Although today the sadness of his departure overwhelms us, we are extremely happy for his gigantic contributions to music, but above all I thank God for the blessing of having been able to share with him one of my most beloved places, the stage. Fly high Tony, while here we will continue listening to the gift of your voice, I imagine that your soul is singing free in your new destination.” — Thalia on Instagram.
“I had the pleasure of being around @itstonybennett twice in my career, both times at Christmas. He was a gentleman and a music icon and his voice will live on for years to come. Rest in peace, Tony.” — Reba McEntire on Instagram.
“A great never leaves, his art remains forever in the memory. My deepest condolences to his family.” — Chayanne on Instagram.