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The 37-year-old singer took to Instagram on Sunday and posted a lengthy tribute to Bennett, who died on July 21.
“I will miss singing with him, recording with him, talking with him, being on stage together,” she wrote. His final performance was at Radio City Music Hall with Gaga in 2021.
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“Tony & I had this magical power. We transported ourselves to another era, modernized the music together, & gave it all new life as a singing duo,” she wrote. “But it wasn’t an act. Our relationship was very real. Sure he taught me about music, about showbiz life, but he also showed me how to keep my spirits high and my head screwed on straight.”
“‘Straight ahead,’ he’d say,” she added. “He was an optimist, he believed in quality work AND quality life. Plus, there was the gratitude…Tony was always grateful. He served in WWII, marched with Martin Luther King Jr., and sang jazz with the greatest singers and players in the world. I’ve been grieving the loss of Tony for a long time.”
“We had a very long and powerful goodbye,” Gaga continued. “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. Losing Tony to Alzheimer’s has been painful but it was also really beautiful. An era of memory loss is such a sacred time in a persons life. There’s such a feeling of vulnerability and a desire to preserve dignity.”
The “Bad Romance” hitmaker closed out her heartfelt post by sending a message to the next generation about not discounting “your elders, don’t leave them behind when things change.”
“Don’t flinch when you feel sad, just keep going straight ahead, sadness is part of it,” the singer wrote. “Take care of your elders and I promise you will learn something special. Maybe even magical. And pay attention to silence—some of my musical partner and I’s most meaningful exchanges were with no melody at all. I love you Tony. Love, Lady.”
Lady Gaga’s tribute follows dozens of others from Elton John, Michael Bublé, Harry Connick Jr., and many more. Bennett’s official cause of death has yet to be released.