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Elton John and Billy Joel lead tributes to Tony Bennett

Elton John and Billy Joel lead tributes to Tony Bennett
Elton John and the late Tony Bennett, 2015 / Kevin Mazur / Contributor / WireImage / Getty Images

Elton John and Billy Joel have paid tribute to Tony Bennett.

The legendary musician passed away at the age of 96 on Friday morning in New York City following a battle with Alzheimer's disease. Since the news broke of his passing, tributes from his fellow stars have flooded in.

"So sad to hear of Tony's passing. Without (a) doubt the classiest singer, man, and performer you will ever see. He's irreplaceable. I loved and adored him," Elton wrote on Instagram.

In a lengthy statement to Rolling Stone, the Piano Man singer called Bennett "one of the most important interpreters of American popular song" and added, "He championed songwriters who might otherwise have remained unknown to many millions of music fans... He was a joy to work with. His energy and enthusiasm for the material he was performing was infectious. He was also one of the nicest human beings I've ever known."

Chic star Nile Rodgers also paid tribute via Twitter, writing, "My most heartfelt condolences go out to Tony Bennett's family and friends. They're also my emotional family and friends."

Meanwhile, Beauty and the Beast actor Josh Gad wrote, "This one shouldn't sting so much because any of us would take 96 years, but man is it hard to imagine a world without the great Tony Bennett."

The 20-time Grammy winner battled Alzheimer's disease privately for five years before revealing his diagnosis to his fans in 2021.

Tony performed his final concerts shortly after he made the announcement alongside his longtime friend and collaborator Lady Gaga.

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