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Category: Amy Winehouse

Amy Winehouse: 'Death by misadventure' -- alcohol -- coroner says

Amy Winehouse's family members leave her inquest

Amy Winehouse consumed "a very large quantity of alcohol" before dying at her London home, a pathologist said Wednesday as she declared Winehouse's demise "death by misadventure."

The inquest, at London's St. Pancras Coroner's Office and Court, settled an earlier question of whether alcohol played a role in the 27-year-old singer's death.  An autopsy immediately after she was found dead in a bed in her London flat revealed no cause of death.  Toxicology tests followed.

The "Back to Black" singer had had public bouts with alcohol and drug abuse. She was frail and reportedly suffered from emphysema due to smoking cigarettes and crack cocaine.

PHOTOS: Amy Winehouse's funeral

Her family believed Winehouse was kicking her dangerous habits. At one point a British tabloid quoted family members as saying she may have died from detoxing from alcohol too abruptly.

A Daily Mail report, however, says St. Pancras coroner Suzanne Greenway found that Winehouse "had consumed sufficient alcohol at 416 mg per decilitre (of blood) and the unintended consequence of such potentially fatal levels was her sudden and unexpected death."

Following Wednesday's inquest, the family released a new statement expressing "relief" at having answers: 

It is some relief to finally find out what happened to Amy. We understand there was alcohol in her system when she passed away, it is likely a build-up of alcohol in her system over a number of days.  The court heard that Amy was battling hard to conquer her problems with alcohol and it is a source of great pain to us that she could not win in time. She had started drinking again that week after a period of abstinence.

It underlines how important our work with the Amy Winehouse Foundation is to us, to help as many young people and children as we can in her name.

It means a lot to us and from the overwhelming messages of support we have had since Amy died, we know she meant a great deal to people all over the world. We want to thank everyone for that and for their continuing enthusiasm for the Foundation.

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Photo: The mother of British singer Amy Winehouse, Janis, second from left, leaves the inquest into her daughter's death on Wednesday. Credit: Luke MacGregor / Reuters


Amy Winehouse: Dad says seizure killed her, hints at more music

Amy Winehouse

Amy Winehouse was a generous spirit who probably died of a seizure resulting from alcohol withdrawal, according to her father, Mitch Winehouse. And, he said, he hopes there will be more Amy Winehouse music released in the future.

The "Back to Black" singer was found dead July 24 at age 27 in her north London home. No conclusive cause of death has been determined, though toxicology tests that came back after the autopsy revealed no illegal drugs in her system. A funeral was held July 26, and Winehouse's body was cremated.

Mitch Winehouse, who was in New York for a jazz singing gig of his own when he heard of his daughter's death, spoke with Anderson Cooper in an interview that aired Monday and with Piers Morgan in a chat scheduled for broadcast Tuesday.

"Her legacy will be her music," the tearful and heartbroken father told Morgan (a clip from the interview is below). "Hopefully there will be some more music. I don't think there's a great deal to come, [but] there will be some more hopefully."

Add to that the five-time Grammy winner's posthumous foundation to assist young people, including those struggling with addiction; Winehouse said he expects it will ultimately "help thousands and thousands of children. And what better legacy could you want than that."

Winehouse believes his daughter died from a seizure brought on by sudden withdrawal from heavy alcohol use. He told Cooper that she'd been clean of illegal drugs for about three years, but had been prescribed Librium to decrease her seizure risk during detox.

"She had a series of seizures brought on by this binge drinking and then stopping to drink ... ," Winehouse said on the Monday premiere of "Anderson." "I think it's what the doctor said, I think she had a seizure and this was the time when there was no one there to rescue her."

The inquest into Amy Winehouse's death will resume Oct. 26 in London.

 

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-- Christie D'Zurilla
twitter.com/dzurillaville

Photo: Amy Winehouse in July 2009. Credit: Toby Melville / Reuters


Amy Winehouse toxicology results show alcohol, no illegal drugs

Amy Winehouse toxicology reports: "No illegal substances"

Amy Winehouse had alcohol in her system when she died but "no illegal substances," a representative of the singer's family said Tuesday.

Winehouse, known for her soulful voice, her five "Back to Black" Grammys and her turbulent battles with alcohol and other substances, was found dead in her north London home on July 24. She was 27.

"Toxicology results returned to the Winehouse family by authorities have confirmed that there were no illegal substances in Amy's system at the time of her death," the rep said in a statement. "Results indicate that alcohol was present but it cannot be determined as yet if it played a role in her death."

An autopsy conducted on the "Rehab" singer's body in late July was inconclusive pending results of toxicology and other tests. A funeral was held July 26, and Winehouse's body was cremated.

"She was trying hard to deal with her drinking and had just completed three weeks of abstinence," Mitch Winehouse, the singer's father, told British media after her death. "She said, 'Dad I've had enough of drinking. I can't stand the look on your and the family's faces anymore.' " He said she'd conquered her drug problems.

An inquest into Amy Winehouse's death was opened in July and will resume Oct. 26 in London. Authorities said they'd found no signs of foul play at the scene of her death.

Meanwhile, Mitch Winehouse last week delayed the startup of a foundation in his daughter's name, telling the BBC that the Internet domain name they'd planned to use had been "pinched" before they could get it registered, forcing them to hold off "for the time being." He'd announced plans for the foundation July 27 at the funeral.

After saying Saturday that he'd be returning donations because there wasn't a bank account in the proper name, he hinted at some success on Monday: "It seems we have got our foundation back. I will update you all tomorrow. Very positive. Mitch."

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— Christie D'Zurilla

Reuters contributed to this report.

Photo: Amy Winehouse on stage in February 2008. Credit: Alessia Pierdomenico / Reuters.


Amy Winehouse wasn't adopting 10-year-old girl, rep says

Amy Winehouse wasn't adopting a girl from St. Lucia

Amy Winehouse may indeed have crossed paths with Dannika Augustine in St. Lucia, but, contrary to reports out Sunday, a rep said she was not in the process of adopting the 10-year-old girl.

Winehouse apparently hooked up with Dannika in 2009 through the girl's grandmother, who runs a beach bar on the Caribbean island where the singer spent a lot of time in the last few years of her life, the Mirror reported Sunday. The story was accompanied by pictures of Amy and the girl hugging and walking together, plus a "confirmation" from the grandparents that the adoption process was underway.

Alas, "There's no truth to it," a Winehouse rep told Gossip Cop on Sunday.

 Pictures: Amy Winehouse, 1983-2011

Marjorie Lambert, the girl's 57-year-old grandma, had been quoted as saying, "Amy wanted to have a child so bad. If she had not died, there is no doubt she would be here in St. Lucia ­completing the adoption process. There is no way she would have done what she did to herself if Dannika was with her."

Winehouse was found dead in bed at her north London home July 23.

Lambert's implication that Winehouse overdosed or killed herself directly contradicts the opinion of the singer's family. Though results of toxicology and other tests are still pending, sources in the Winehouse camp told the Sun on Thursday they believed cold-turkey withdrawal from alcohol was behind the 27-year-old's recent death.

Dannika reportedly said she was looking forward to living with Winehouse in London, and that she "would call her mum and [Amy] would call me her ­daughter." Dannika's parents, who allegedly were OK with the idea of giving up their daughter to the wealthy but not-so-stable performer, split shortly after the girl was born. The father is jobless in Germany, and Mom raises the girl in poverty on the island, the paper said.

 Photos: Amy Winehouse's funeral

Lambert told the Mirror she was convinced that if Winehouse had stayed on the island she would still be alive.

"Amy always wanted to drink," the grandmother was quoted as saying, "but I would not let her drink before she had something to eat."

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-- Christie D'Zurilla
twitter.com/dzurillaville

Photo: Amy Winehouse performs in Brazil in January 2011. Credit: Nabor Goulart / Associated Press

 

 


Must Amy Winehouse be crowded into the '27 Club'?

Amy Winehouse and the 27 Club concept

Because we cannot speak about a celebrity's death without inventing some sort of trend, let's take a second to deal with Amy Winehouse and the so-called 27 Club.

Just hours after the tragic demise of the vocal powerhouse, entertainment outlets settled on their preferred angle: Winehouse was 27. Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain and a slew of other artists also died at 27, many of them from conditions related to drugs or alcohol. (Joplin died of a probable heroin overdose, heroin-user Cobain's death was a suicide, and Hendrix's autopsy concluded that he drowned in vomit after pairing sleeping pills with wine.)

So. All this 27 business must mean something, sayeth the laws of entertainment journalism. The dreaded Return of Saturn has been suggested -- that span between ages 27 and 30 that astrologists say marks a time of developmental tumult as the planet returns to the angle it occupied at the person's birth.

Addiction specialists, however, have a slightly earthier take on the 27 Club.

"If there is a connection, it's developmental," says Dr. Paul Hokemeyer, an addiction specialist with Caron Treatment Centers in Manhattan. "Prior to our 30s, people really don't have a sense of their own mortality, and they're still reckless and aren't able to really, fully appreciate their vulnerabilities.”

That goes double for stars, "because they’re given their sense of immortality by fame; people worship them and turn them into gods and goddesses."

OK, so age certainly explains a part of the 27 Club phenomenon -- if there really is one -- but not all of it. The other factor is the human body itself, Hokemeyer says.

For the record, we do not yet know exactly how Winehouse died, only that she battled major addictions to drugs and alcohol, as well as mental health problems (depression) and respiratory ailments. However, Hokemeyer says that for addicts, the late 20s bring a host of new ailments and complications.

"Cocaine users start to have heart issues," Hokemeyer explains. "For alcoholics, the impact is on the liver. It loses its ability to process the alcohol. It may take someone days or weeks to recover [from using], compared to a few hours."

And finally, Hokemeyer says, people in their late 20s, particularly men and especially addicts, tend to be at the highest risk of suicide.

"If you look at the highest-risk group for suicides, it's males in that age range who are substance abusers,” Hokemeyer tells the Ministry.

"They have poor impulse control, and the alcohol and drugs interfere with that, basically make them step on the gas and hold off on the brakes. It's an issue of compulsivity and lack of judgment."

So maybe there is something to the idea that 27 is a dangerous age for troubled artists. Let's just hope that this club is now, finally, closed for membership.

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Photo: Amy Winehouse onstage in Spain in July 2008. Credit: Juan Medina / Reuters


Amy Winehouse funeral: Kelly Osbourne attends, cremation follows

Kelly Osbourne arrives at Amy Winehouse's funeral

A private funeral for Amy Winehouse was held at Edgwarebury Cemetery in London on Tuesday, with family and friends in attendance including Kelly Osbourne, "Back to Black" producer Mark Ronson and recent boyfriend, filmmaker Reg Traviss.

Winehouse, 27, was found dead in bed at her north London home on Saturday.

The Jewish service was led by a rabbi and included prayers in English and Hebrew and reminiscences from Mitch Winehouse, Amy's father, who ended his eulogy with the words, "Goodnight, my angel, sleep tight. Mummy and Daddy love you ever so much."

Photos: Amy Winehouse's funeral

Mitch Winehouse "told some great stories from childhood about how headstrong she was, and clearly the family and friends recognized the stories and laughed along," family spokesman Chris Goodman said. "He stressed so many times she was happier now than she had ever been and he spoke about her boyfriend and paid tribute to a lot of people in her life."

Amy Winehouse funeral pictures  Mom Janis and brother Alex were also among several hundred mourners on hand, as were her band members. Some held black-and-white pictures of the singer, and Mitch urged everyone to sing along as the service ended with a rendition of Carole King's "So Far Away," one of his daughter's favorite songs (listen to it below).

"She has been full of life and so upbeat recently, exercising everyday and doing yoga," Traviss told Britain's Sun newspaper earlier. "This terrible thing that happened is like an accident."

"I have lost my darling who I loved very much," he said. 

The service was followed by cremation at London's Golders Green Crematorium before the family prepared this evening to begin sitting shiva, a Jewish traditional period of mourning.

Continue reading »

Russell Brand remembers Amy Winehouse: friend, genius, addict

Russell Brand remembers Amy Winehouse

Russell Brand is among those mourning the weekend death of Amy Winehouse, but from a somewhat unique position: Brand met Winehouse when he was newly sober at 27 and when the "jazz singer," as he put it, had yet to cross paths with global fame. And her story might well have been his.

"I was myself at that time barely out of rehab and was thirstily seeking less complicated women so I barely reflected on the now glaringly obvious fact that Winehouse and I shared an affliction, the disease of addiction," Brand, 36, wrote Sunday on his blog.

He saw her "oddly dainty presence" on stage only once, he said, and that experience changed his perception of her from "some twit in a pink satin jacket shuffling round bars with mutual friends" in London's Camden district to a genius with a voice filled with "power and pain."

"Shallow fool that I am I now regarded her in a different light, the light that blazed down from heaven when she sang. That lit her up now and a new phase in our friendship began."

Brand got sober in 2002 after years of arrests and debauchery, with his career growing to include film and TV work as well as the stand-up stage. Winehouse won five Grammys in 2008 for the album "Back to Black," released in Britain in 2006 and the U.S. in 2007, but her addiction-related antics came to overshadow her talent as a third album never materialized and a comeback tour was canceled after a Belgrade, Serbia, performance that the British press dubbed "shambolic."

Brand and Katy Perry were married in India in last October. Winehouse was found dead in her North London home on Saturday.

"Not all addicts have Amy's incredible talent," Brand wrote. "Or Kurt's or Jimi's or Janis's, some people just get the affliction. All we can do is adapt the way we view this condition, not as a crime or a romantic affectation but as a disease that will kill."

Not everyone knows a "Winehouse," as he called her, but he noted that most do know drunks and junkies in need of help that is out there for them.

"All they have to do is pick up the phone and make the call. Or not. Either way, there will be a phone call."

Thoughts on Brand's final words for Amy?

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Photos: Russell Brand with Amy Winehouse in 2006, left; fans gather outside her home after her death. Credits: Dave Hogan / Getty Images, left; Kirsty Wigglesworth / Associated Press, right.



Amy Winehouse autopsy: No cause of death, toxicology tests pending

Amy Winehouse's parents, brother Alex and onetime beau Reg Traviss

An autopsy on the body of Amy Winehouse revealed no cause of death Monday for the 27-year-old retro-soul singer, leaving fans and family to wait for the results of toxicology tests due in two to four weeks.

A funeral for Winehouse, who was Jewish, was likely to be held Tuesday or Wednesday.

"I can't tell you what this means to us," father Mitch Winehouse told fans gathered Monday outside her home in London's Camden district. "We're devastated and I'm speechless, but thanks for coming."

The singer's mother, Janis, was in tears as she examined the flowers, candles, vodka bottles, flags, drawings and handwritten cards left by neighbors, fans and well-wishers. Many of the offerings expressed the same sentiment: "What a waste."

Winehouse, who'd last spoken to members of her team around 10 a.m. Saturday, may have been dead for several hours before she was found by security guard Andrew Morris in her home that afternoon.

"She was in her bedroom after saying she wanted to sleep and when [Morris] went to wake her he found she wasn't breathing," Chris Goodman, her rep in Britain, told the Sun. "He called the emergency services straight away. He was very shocked.

"At this stage no one knows how she died. She died alone in bed."

The frail singer had been getting regular doctor checkups, the Sun said, most recently the night before her death. Her family said Monday that reports their daughter had bought cocaine, ketamine and ecstasy hours before she died were "nonsense."

Continue reading »

Amy Winehouse: Autopsy due in days; dad Mitch Winehouse flies home

Amy Winehouse fans remember her in Camden Square

With an autopsy on the body of Amy Winehouse yet to come and no signs of foul play found, her father Mitch has canceled his singing engagement at a New York jazz club and headed home.

Meanwhile, police called speculation as to the cause of Winehouse's death "inappropriate" and fans in Camden Square left flowers, candles and more in her memory. Amy Winehouse was found dead Saturday in her north London home at age 27.

Pictures: Amy Winehouse, 1983-2011

"I am aware of reports suggesting that the death was a result of a suspected drug overdose, but I would like to re-emphasise that no post-mortem examination has yet taken place," said Supt. Raj Kohli, who according to London papers confirmed it was Winehouse's body found Saturday afternoon in Camden.

Scotland Yard told TMZ that there were no signs of foul play; because the death appeared accidental, an autopsy was unlikely to happen before Sunday or even Monday, police told Radar Online.

"We are very sad to report that the Mitch Winehouse performance on Monday July 25 is canceled due to the unexpected death of his daughter, Amy Winehouse," the Blue Note New York jazz club said on its website Saturday.

The former cabbie, who'd recently started singing jazz in public, was headed back to London to be with his family, TMZ said. Mitch Winehouse, who credited his daughter for his opportunity to perform, just told the New York Times that despite some rough times, in the last few weeks Amy had been "absolutely fantastic."

On Twitter, celebs including Diddy, Rihanna, Demi Lovato, Natasha Bedingfield, Nicki Minaj, Ricky Martin and Selena Gomez acknowledged the singer's death, lamenting her entry into the "27 Club" of performers -- among them Kurt Cobain and Janis Joplin -- whose lives ended at age 27.

"She was a lovely and intelligent person and when we recorded together she gave a soulful and extraordinary performance," said singer Tony Bennett, who praised her "rare intuition as a vocalist" in a statement Saturday to Us Magazine. Winehouse was among those who recorded with him for "Duets 2," an album to be released in August to mark his 85th birthday.

Pal Kelly Osbourne was distraught: "i cant even breath right my now im crying so hard i just lost 1 of my best friends. i love you forever Amy & will never forget the real you!"

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-- Christie D'Zurilla
twitter.com/dzurillaville

Photos: Amy Winehouse, performing at a festival in 2008, was remembered with flowers and more in Camden Square near the residence where she was found dead Saturday. Credits: Antzesco Kangaris / European Pressphoto Agency, left; Yui Mok / Associated Press, right.


Amy Winehouse found dead at home; singer was 27

Amy Winehouse is dead at 27

Amy Winehouse has been found dead in her northern London home, according to London police and ambulance crews who responded to the scene around 4 p.m. Saturday.

Though police confirmed that a 27-year-old woman had been found dead in Camden, they did not offer a cause of death for the soulful, bluesy singer whose father said only days ago that despite going through some rough stuff, "the last few weeks she's been absolutely fantastic."

Winehouse, whose second album, "Back to Black," featured the hit "Rehab" and earned her five Grammys in 2008, had struggled with drugs and alcohol for years, recently canceling a European tour after being booed off the stage in Serbia.

Her father Mitch Winehouse, who started a jazz-singing career only recently, tweeted Thursday that he was off to New York, where he was booked for two Monday shows at the Blue Note. His daughter came to most of his London performances, he'd told the New York Times.

"She always gets up onstage and refuses to rehearse," Mitch Winehouse said. "So we end up doing a couple of songs which are terrible. We just end up in fits of laughter. Everyone enjoys it because they can see we are enjoying it.

"She's very, very supportive and she's a great kid and she's going through some rough stuff at the moment, but the last few weeks she's been absolutely fantastic."

Winehouse had been in and out of rehab over the years, and in and out of a relationship with Blake Fielder-Civil, and in court over allegations that she'd assaulted a fan. Winehouse had reportedly been working for years on a third album as well. She had recorded a song for Tony Bennett's "Duets II," which is scheduled for release in September, according to Pop & Hiss.

In her 90-minute Serbia set in June, Winehouse had mumbled through songs and occasionally left the stage, leaving her band to cover for her. Shortly before heading out on the road she'd checked herself out of rehab after a week, and her hotel was reportedly stripped of alcohol before the show. After the Belgrade gig, her camp decided that she should head home.

"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," a spokesman said at the time

Here's a link to the video for "Tears Dry on their Own," a Ministry favorite. (How Winehouse of her to include that one well-placed cuss word that prevents us from embedding it. Sigh.)

"I cannot play myself again / I should just be my own best friend."

RIP Amy Winehouse.

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-- Christie D'Zurilla
Twitter.com/dzurillaville

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

Photo: Amy Winehouse in July 2008. Credit: Victor R. Caivano / Associated Press


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