Coroner Rules Amy Winehouse Died From Alcohol Poisoning
A London coroner said British pop star Amy Winehouse died from unintended alcohol poisoning, the Associated Press reported.
Coroner Suzanne Greenaway gave a verdict of “death by misadventure,” meaning that the singer’s accidental overconsumption of alcohol led to her demise.
Pathologist Suhail Baithun said Winehouse consumed a “very large quantity of alcohol” around the time she died, more than five times the legal driving limit in the U.K., according to the AP.
Winehouse, whose success in her career was overshadowed by drug and alcohol addiction, was found dead in her northwest London home July 23, 2011. She was 27 years old.
Since the effects of alcohol are not experienced right away, many people may continue to drink without realizing how much they are actually consuming, said Dr Lisandro Irizarry, chairman of emergency medicine at the Brooklyn Hospital Center in New York.
“People experience increasing levels of confusion, lethargy and stupor, respiratory depression, cardiac arrythemia and, ultimately, decreased oxygen and blood flow to the brain,” said Irizarry. “Alcohol can also exacerbate those symptoms by interfering with the body’s ability to absorb blood sugar, leading to seizures and death.”
Initial autopsy results were inconclusive and led many, including Winehouse’s family members, to speculate whether she may have died from a seizure as a consequence of drug withdrawal, since she’d reportedly left rehab shortly before she died.
The troubled singer had been in and out of rehab multiple times, even singing songs about how she would not go.
“I’m manic depressive, I’m not an alcoholic, which sounds like an alcoholic in denial,” Winehouse said in an interview on the British TV’s “The Album Chart Show.”
The combination of bad relationships, mental health problems and physical addiction may have foreshadowed her fate, said Dr. David Sack, CEO of Promises Treatment Center in Los Angeles.
“It was a bad convergence that left her less accessible to treatment,” Sack told ABCNews.com. “But she kept trying.”
In June 2011, not long before her death, Winehouse’s drunken performance in Belgrade, Serbia, got her booed off the stage; she had reportedly left rehab a few weeks before.
“I think she minimized the extext to which her life was impacted by drugs and alcohol,” said Sack.