UPDATE October 26, 2011: The coroner’s report states that Amy Winehouse died from alcohol poisoning. When she died, she had over five times the legal limit of alcohol, and well over the amount that can be fatal. Her family released a statement saying that after weeks of being abstinent, Amy had gone on a days-long alcohol binge. They claimed her high blood alcohol level was the result of a “build-up” over days, which actually isn’t how alcohol metabolizes in the system. Police found three empty vodka bottles, and her death was the result of alcohol she consumed that night and morning. Even someone with a high tolerance for alcohol, like Amy, can consume to alcohol poisoning as a result of a binge, because it overwhelms the part of the brain that controls breathing. Death from binge drinking is a tragic thing that happens way more often than it should on college campuses everywhere.
UPDATE September 30, 2011: Tony Bennett told Jon Stewart on The Daily Show that looking back, he can now see that at the time he recorded “Body & Soul” with Amy Winehouse, she knew she “wasn’t going to live,” and that it was alcohol that was killing her.
UPDATE August 23, 2011: Amy Winehouse’s family say they have looked at the toxicology results, and report that they show no presence of illegal drugs in Amy Winehouse’s system at the time of death. They did find alcohol, but as of now don’t know if it played a role in her death. On the premiere episode of Anderson Cooper’s new talk show Anderson (aired September 12, 2011), Amy’s father Mitch said he thought she died as a result of a seizure. She’s had several seizures before, one that Mitch saved her from after a friend saw her have it on Skype. She was also taking an anti-seizure medication. Still, there’s been no definitive cause of death, which is expected to come in weeks or months.
UPDATE July 25th 2011: An autopsy was performed Monday, but the results are inconclusive until the toxicology results come in, which can take two to four weeks. Amy’s parents Mitch Winehouse, and his ex-wife Janis were seen at Amy’s apartment, where a shrine has been built by fans leaving flowers, stuffed toys, booze bottles, and cigarettes. A neighbor has been playing Amy’s music from his window. Amy’s funeral was held Tuesday, July 26, and ended with a rendition of Carole King’s “So Far Away,” one of Amy’s favorite songs. Her father spoke for 20 minutes, saying that Amy’s life was about love, and closing with “Goodnight, my angel, sleep tight. Mummy and Daddy love you ever so much.”
Kelly Osbourne attended the funeral with her blonde hair up in a beehive in honor of Amy. Back to Black producer Mark Ronson was also in attendance.
After the ceremony, where Amy was presented in a casket wearing her signature eyeliner and beehive, Amy’s body was cremated.
An ambulance was called to the London home of singer Amy Winehouse July 23, 2011 after reports of a woman’s body being found. Paramedics arrived at 3:54 pm and pronounced Amy Winehouse dead on the scene. She was only 27 years old, and the cause of death is still unknown, but there are mounting reports of alcohol and drugs being consumed just hours before her death.
Her body was discovered in her bed by her security guard, Andrew Morris, who had lived with her for several years. According to her father Mitch, she was singing and playing drums that night, and Morris went up to tell her to keep it quiet because it was late. She did quiet down, and she did, but proceeded to walk around for a while. When he checked on her in the morning, he thought she was asleep, but a when he checked a few hours later, he noticed that she wasn’t breathing. Mitch claimed that Amy had completely kicked drugs, and that she hadn’t touched alcohol in three weeks. He also said she’d wasn’t depressed, but had been happier than ever before her death, and had started calling him three times a day.
From an official statement by London Metropolitan Police:
‘Police were called by London Ambulance Service to an address in Camden Square NW1 shortly before 16.05hrs today, Saturday 23 July, following reports of a woman found deceased.
‘On arrival officers found the body of a 27-year-old female who was pronounced dead at the scene.
‘Enquiries continue into the circumstances of the death. At this early stage it is being treated as unexplained.’
Winehouse had been working on a comeback album and had even scheduled a European tour this summer, but the tour was cut short after a disastrous performance in Belgrade during which Amy stumbled around on stage and sang incoherently. She had just been released from another quick stint in rehab for alcohol abuse before her unfortunate performance in Belgrade, and there were reports circulating from friends this last week that the singer was now “drinking herself into oblivion.” Amy was last publicly seen a three days ago on stage at the itunes Festival supporting her goddaughter Dionne Bromfield, who is embarking on her own singing career under Amy’s label Lioness Records. Amy didn’t sing, but she took the mike to ask fans to buy Dionne’s second album Good for the Soul.
UPDATE (July 24, 2011): People claiming to be Amy’s friends told UK’s People that she planned to have a wild party Friday night (just hours before she passed) and bought ecstasy, cocaine,heroin and ketamine on the street.
“Amy seemed determined to have a big one on Friday night.
“She was out in Camden on Friday evening, but seemed determined to carry on the party back at her flat.
“None of us know who was with her into the early hours of Saturday. But getting out of it was clearly her main priority of the night.”
Amy’s mother Janis, who has many times before told the press that she thought her daughter was going to die young, had lunch with Amy Friday afternoon. According to Janis Amy looked tired, as she often did because of the hours she kept, but that Janis also suspected that Amy didn’t have much time left. They kissed on the front steps of Amy’s house, and Amy told her mother she loved her. Her father Mitch Winehouse was in New York when Amy died, in the middle of a string of gigs to promote his own jazz album. He returned home promptly, saying he was “devastated,” but he couldn’t “crack up for Amy’s sake.”
Amy’s latest ex-boyfriend Reg Traviss reportedly devastated her when he broke up with her, and refused her proposal, over her drinking habits. They reportedly also had a fight before her death because she was back in contact with her ex Blake Fielder-Civil. He was seen outside her house shortly after news broker of her death. Amy’s ex-husband Blake Fielder-Civil was incarcerated (for armed robbery) when he found out, and reportedly collapsed He later told The Sun that he will never find love like the love he had for Amy, and that his “tears will never dry.” The day Amy died Blake had a visit scheduled with his girlfriend Sarah Aspin (it was her birthday), who is the mother of his baby son Jack. He was inconsolable during the visit, and Sarah was a bit wounded by his outpouring of love and grief for Amy.
Amy was reportedly getting health check-ups, and making efforts to quit drinking over the past few months, but it seemed to be quite a struggle. A pub owner claimed that Amy frequented his establishment quite often, and for the last few weeks she visited she refused to drink, even asking the staff to not let her drink. During this time, however, there were also reports from friends that she was still downing massive amounts of vodka at home. She was checked out by a physician (one of the regular checks prescribed by her physician) at 8 p.m. on Friday night, mere hours before she died.
Although there are reports that she purchased a cocktail of drugs the night before she died, and that she was drinking herself to death, her family has suspicions that quitting alcohol cold turkey may have been what killed her. They told The Sun that doctors told her to gradually cut down on alcohol because she had become physically dependent, but with Amy it was all or nothing. We still won’t know what really caused Amy’s death until toxicology reports come in, but alcohol withdrawal can cause severe symptoms, including death.
No doubt Winehouse will go down in history as one of the most talented performers to ever explode onto the music scene, only to have her career and life cut short by drug and alcohol abuse. I’m a huge fan myself and Amy’s rise and fall has been a terrible thing to watch. I was really hopeful she would be able to get herself back on track and share more of her talent with the world, or at least get healthy to enjoy life for herself.
Unfortunately, Amy has joined the “27 club” (famous musicians who died at 27) along with Jim Morriosn, Jimi HendrixJanis Joplin, and Kurt Cobain, and Brian Jones of The Rolling Stones. Three years ago Amy even expressed fears that she, too, would die at age 27. Her cause of death is unknown, but she’s been on a dangerous path for a while with cocaine, crack, heroin, and alcohol (among others.) She spent time in rehab several times, but had trouble achieving sobriety for extended periods of time.
It’s a tragic situation that didn’t have to happen, but hopefully can inspire others struggling with addiction to seek help and take the time to take care of themselves.
Rest in peace Amy.
Top photo: Jason Sheldon / WENN
UPDATE – Scotland Yard tells TMZ that there is no evidence of foul play and an autopsy is scheduled for tomorrow. Here is a photo of police and civilians gathering around Amy’s home:
(Photo: James Fox/WENN.com)
Another sad image from the scene:
^ Amy Winehouse’s body is removed from her home (C NEW /WENN.com)