Saturday, 23 July 2011
07:28:29 PM (GMT)
Soul star Amy Winehouse was found dead at her north London home yesterday in what
police described only as an "unexplained" death. Winehouse, 27, who sold more than
five million records and was heralded across the globe for herBack To Black album,
died as she had lived – immersed in controversy.
Police chiefs speaking outside her house in Camden Town warned against investing in
speculation that she had been killed by a drug overdose and to wait for post morterm
results to reveal more. The singer's well publicised battles with drink and drug
problems had haunted her career and often threatened to overshadow her undisputed
talent. She cancelled a European tour recently after a crashing performance in
Belgrade during which she appeared to slur the lyrics to her best known hits. Weeks
before she had entered rehab for alcohol abuse. Doctors allegedly told her she would
die if she did not stop drinking. Last week, she was bacl on stage again, looking
relaxed if a little unsteady at the Roundhouse in London during a cameo appearance
alongside singer Dionne Bromfield, her goddaughter. Less than 72 hours later,
Winehouse was dead.
Her father Mitch was reportedly on a flight to New York when news of her death broke
and got on the next plane back to London. The former taxi driver had spoken of his
worries over her wildchild lifestyl in the past, once explaining how he had written a
eulogy to read at her funeral so fearful was that she might die young.
Yesterday evening. on the other side of police tape wrapped around her house in
Camden Square, crowds of fans arrived with flowers and teddy bears. The group had
dissipated by the time a body-bag was removed from the house later in the evening,
More fans gathered to toast the singer at The Hawley Arms, one of her favourite pubs
in Camden Town - she was occasionally seen pulling pints behind the bar there.
Candles were lit oustide in her memory. The pub's owners said: "Apart from her
extraordinary musical talent, she was a special person with a good soul and this
should not have happened. We feel privileged to have known her and we will sorely
Winehouse was already dead when ambulance teams arrived at her house. Camden police
superintendent Raj Kohli said: "I am aware of reports suggesting that the death was a
result of a suspected drugs overdose, but I would like to re-emphasise that no
post-mortem examination has yet taken place and it would be inappropriate to
speculate on the cause of death."
Supt Kohli added: "The death of any person is a sad time for friends and family - in
particular someone like Amy Winehouse, very well-known nationally and
internationally. My sympathy extends not just to her immediate family but to her
thousands, millions of fans across the world."
Winehouse's ex-husband Blake Fielder-Civil had long expressed the fear the singer
would "die in his arms". He told The Sun that two years ago he put the singer into
the recovery position and pulled her tongue out of her mouth to stop her biting it.
"I felt sure I was watching her die right in front of me," he said.
A statement on Amy Winehouse's website from her manager before her death alluded to
her troubles. It read: "Amy Winehouse is withdrawing from all scheduled performances.
Everyone involved wishes to do everything they can to help her return to her best and
she will be given as long as it takes for this to happen."
Some of the world's best known musicians lined up to pay tribute. Crooner Tony
Bennett said: "She was an extraordinary musician with a rare intuition as a vocalist.
She was a lovely and intelligent person and when we recorded together she gave a
soulfu; and extraordinary performance." Another favourite colloborator Mark Ronson
said: "Amy was my musical soulmate and like a sister to me.." Simply Red's Mick
Hucknall described her as "the finest female singer Britain has ever produced by a
long, long way." Her album Frank was nominated for the Mercury Music Prize. But her
real success came with Back to Black in 2006. It led to six Grammy nominations and
five wins, equalling the record for the most wins by a female artist in a single
night. A Brit award for Best British Female Artist followed in 2007, and she won the
Ivor Novello Award three times.
Winehouse joins a long list of musical greats who died aged 27, while still having so
much to give their craft. They include Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain, Jim
Morrison and Rolling Stone Brian Jones.