Gaga and Bennett on their 2021 CBS special; Kelsey Bennett @kelseybennett333

On InstagramLady Gaga paid a heartfelt tribute to her friend and musical collaborator Tony Bennett, who died at age 96 on July 21.

“I will miss my friend forever,” Gaga wrote in the lengthy caption of a photo of herself hugging the legendary crooner.  “I will miss singing with him, recording with him, talking with him, being on stage together.”

“With Tony, I got to live my life in a time warp. Tony & I had this magical power,” Gaga continued. “We transported ourselves to another era, modernized the music together, & gave it all new life as a singing duo. But it wasnt [sic] 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 called Bennett an “optimist” who “believed in quality work AND quality life,” and who was “always grateful.” 

Gaga wrote, “I’ve been grieving the loss of Tony for a long time. We had a very long and powerful goodbye. Though there were 5 decades between us, he was my friend. My real true friend. Our age difference didn’t matter.”

She described losing to Bennett to Alzheimer’s as “painful” but also “really beautiful,” noting, “All I wanted was for Tony to remember how much I loved him and how grateful I was to have him in my life. But, as that faded slowly I knew deep down he was sharing with me the most vulnerable moment in his life that he could — being willing to sing with me when his nature was changing so deeply.”

She added, “I’ll never forget this experience. I’ll never forget Tony Bennett.”

Gaga closed the post with, “I love you Tony. Love, Lady.”

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