Billy Joel has paid tribute to Tony Bennett as "one of the nicest human beings I've ever known" following his death at the age of 96.

The 74-year-old musician took to Instagram to praise Bennett's "outstanding contribution to the art of contemporary music", over 20 years after the pair collaborated on the 2001 album 'Playin' with My Friends: Bennett Sings the Blues'.

Billy wrote on Instagram: "Tony Bennett was the one of the most important interpreters of American popular song during the mid to late 20th century. He championed songwriters who might otherwise have remained unknown to many millions of music fans.

"His was a unique voice that made the transition from the era of Jazz into the age of Pop. I will always be grateful for his outstanding contribution to the art of contemporary music. 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."

A representative for Bennett confirmed his death in a statement on Friday (21.07.23), saying: "Tony Bennett, born Anthony Dominick Benedetto in Astoria, Queens on August 3, 1926, has passed away in his hometown of New York City at the age of 96 earlier today. The beloved singer, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease in 2016, is survived by his wife, Susan Benedetto, his two sons, Danny and Dae Bennett, his daughters Johanna Bennett and Antonia Bennett, and 9 grandchildren."