Amy Winehouse Dies; Troubled Singer Found Dead in Home

Singer Had Pulled Out of Most Recent Tour After Being Booed Offstage

July 23, 2011, 12:59 PM

July 23, 2011— -- Amy Winehouse, the volatile singer whose career was rocked by drug addiction and alcohol abuse, has died. She was 27.

She was found dead in her northwest London home, London police and ambulance officials said. A Metropolitan Police spokesman said it was not yet clear what the cause of death was.

Winehouse, once one of the hottest acts in pop music, was jeered and booed off the stage in Belgrade, Serbia, last month when she was attempting to launch a new European tour. She cancelled the rest of the events on the planned tour.

The troubled singer had been in and out of rehab multiple times, even singing songs about how she would not go.

The news of Winehouse's death did not come to a shock to some celebrities.

"Amy Winehouse lived longer than I expected. Is that awful of me? I'm sorry, Amy -- RIP," tweeted Kevin Williamson, executive producer of "The Vampire Diaries."

Winehouse was not normally found in the celebrity scene. But many, some of whom considered themselves friends with Winehouse, tweeted their grief over her death.

"I can't even breath right my now i'm crying so hard i just lost 1 of my best friends. i love you forever Amy & will never forget the real you!" Kelly Osbourne, daughter of rockstar Ozzy Osbourne, tweeted.

"So many people saying that because it's not a surprise that Amy Winehouse passed, it's not sad. I hope you have more compassion for friends," singer Rob Thomas tweeted.

In June 2008, she was rushed to a hospital after she fainted at home. Shortly afterwards, her father said in an interview that she was suffering from emphysema and had been warned by doctors that she would die if she continued smoking crack cocaine and cigarettes.

Her representatives played down the severity of the diagnosis, although a spokesman has confirmed that Winehouse had a "touch of" emphysema.

Her battle against drug addiction often overshadowed her recording success. In August 2007, at the height of her promotional tour for her breakout second album, "Back to Black," Winehouse cancelled a number of shows in the UK and Europe, citing exhaustion and ill health.

Soon after, Winehouse and her then husband were photographed, bloodied and bruised, in the streets of London after an alleged fight.

In one of her hit songs, "Rehab," Winehouse sings that she will not go to rehab, even though her father encouraged her to go.

"It's not just my pride, it's just 'til these tears have dried," Winehouse sings.

Winehouse admitted in several interviews during the album's released that she suffered from depression, had an eating disorder and engaged in self-injury.

"I do drink a lot. I think it's symptomatic of my depression," Winehouse said in an interview on the British TV show, "The Album Chart Show." "I'm manic depressive, I'm not an alcoholic, which sounds like an alcoholic in denial."

The song "Rehab" cited a real plea by her friends and father to seek treatment, she said.

"I just felt, no. Do they have a gym there? Who's going to feed my cats?" Winehouse said. "Alcoholism is a horrible thing, but if you can't remember the practical issues, that's when you know you've got a real problem."

Winehouse's father Mitch Winehouse, publicly cited multiple family problems that he said may have spiraled Winehouse into depression and addiction.

Mitch Winehouse told the British paper, the Daily Mail, that he had a public decade-long affair with his coworker that started when Winehouse was 2 years old.

"It was difficult," Mitch Winehouse told the Daily Mail in 2008.

Winehouse had reconciled with her father since then, but that did not seem to help her to stay sober.

Mitch Winehouse, an aspiring singer himself, said he knew his daughter's career and the publicity surrounding her personal life helped his chances at a music career.

"It [the relationship between father and daughter] was complicated," said Ian Drew, senior music editor of US Weekly magazine. "She loved her father, but he also fed off of her."

"He couldn't rein her in as much as he loved her,"said Drew.

In January 2008, British newspaper The Sun posted a video of Winehouse allegedly smoking crack cocaine and talking about taking ecstacy and valium. The video was later passed on to investigators, who arrested and questioned Winehouse but did not file charges against her.

Later that month, Winehouse finally checked into rehab, but left the treatment program two weeks later. In February 2008, she won five Grammys, including Best New Artist and Album of the Year.

In addition to her health woes, Winehouse often found herself embroiled in legal dramas.

In October 2007, Winehouse and her husband, Blake Fielder-Civil, were arrested in Norway for possession of marijuana. They were later released and fined.

When Fielder-Civil was accused of assaulting a pub landlord in June 2007, Winehouse was accused of trying to interfere in his trial. He was eventually sentenced to a 27 months in prison on charges stemming from the assault.

But Winehouse's health and legal problems didn't hinder her popularity. In May, The Sunday Times newspaper's annual Rich List estimated her wealth at $20 million. According to the same paper, "Back to Black" had sold nine million copies worldwide as of July 2008.

Winehouse is listed as a performer on Tony Bennett's upcoming album "Duets 2," which is due out in September. She and Bennett sang the jazz standard "Body and Soul."

"Amy Winehouse was an artist of immense proportions and I am deeply saddened to learn of her tragic passing," Bennett said in a statement today.

"She was an extraordinary musician with a rare intuition as a vocalist and I am truly devastated that her exceptional talent has come to such an early end," he said. "She was a lovely and intelligent person and when we recorded together she gave a soulful and extraordinary performance. I was honored to have the opportunity to sing with her."

He said he had hoped that she would "overcome the issues she was battling."

Winehouse's death follows suit with a number of rock singers who died at age 27, including Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison and Kurt Cobain.

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