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Al remembers Tony Bennett singing at his birthday party and doing a duet with his daughter

The TODAY weatherman fondly remembered a surprise at his 50th birthday party in 2004 that involved the legendary singer.
/ Source: TODAY

Al Roker cherished the memory of an unforgettable birthday surprise after learning that music legend Tony Bennett died at 96 on July 21.

The TODAY weatherman shared that his wife, Deborah Roberts, surprised him by having Bennett sing at Al's 50th birthday celebration in 2004. His daughter also had a surreal moment with the beloved jazz crooner at the party.

"Tony Bennett performed at my birthday, and Courtney did a duet with him," Al said on the 3rd hour of TODAY.

Bennett's publicist confirmed to TODAY on July 21 that the iconic singer died at 96 in New York City.

Al and Deborah also attended Bennett's final concert with Lady Gaga in 2021, a sold-out show at Radio City Music Hall in New York City that coincided with Bennett's 95th birthday.

The show in his hometown came six months after Bennett's family shared that he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease back in 2016, which made his performance all the more remarkable.

"This was almost like a two-hour concert with him and Lady Gaga, and there was no teleprompter or anything," Al said. "He just knew the songs and after (he said), ‘Thank you, you’re beautiful.' We were savoring it because we were never going to see it. Nobody like Tony Bennett is going to come along again."

Al also paid tribute to Bennett on Instagram on July 21, sharing a pair of photos of him with the music luminary from over the years.

"What a life well lived," he wrote. "I was so fortunate to have gotten to know the legendary @tonybennett over the years. He passed away this morning at the age of 96. 70 albums, so many hits solo and with other artists."

Back in 2016, Al had a chance to spend some time with Bennett when he spoke with him on TODAY about his music, his love of painting, and his incredible longevity.

"I remember I got to sit down with him in his apartment off of Central Park South, and it was all about music and about his painting," Al said on July 21. "And he loved to paint. He really was truly an artist, both vocally and both visually, and I think one really did inform the other because as such a great painter as he was, he was a really terrific, obviously, music artist."

It was fitting that Al interviewed him at his home because he said the legendary singer personified the Big Apple. Bennett often helped NBC kick off the holiday season in New York City by performing at the annual Christmas tree lighting at Rockefeller Center.

"He was just amazing, such a generous guy," Al said. "And he was New York. I remember one time literally I'm on Fifth Avenue and 57th Street and this guy (says), 'Hey, Al.' And I look and it's Tony Bennett."

Bennett was able to stay relevant into his 90s, duetting with fellow music legends like Paul McCartney and Elton John and also younger artists like Lady Gaga.

"He was just unbelievable," Al said. "Seventy albums, and recording with every other music star out there. Just incredible."

The 20-time Grammy winner created a musical legacy that will be remembered by generations.

"We're all the better for him having been here," Al said.