Troubled soul singer Amy Winehouse, who had been attempting a comeback after a few years battling drug and alcohol addiction, has been found dead in her flat in north London this afternoon, her record company and the Metropolitan Police have confirmed Saturday.
A police statement said: “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.”
Sources say the talented star died of a suspected overdose. A spokesman for the late singer said: “Everyone involved with Amy is shocked and devastated. Our thoughts are with her family and friends. The family will issue a statement when ready.”
Last month, Miss Winehouse cancelled her entire European tour, after an on-stage breakdown in Serbia. A statement on her website said “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.”
Friends of the singer had reportedly voiced fears that she was drinking herself to death. They said earlier this month: “Her drinking is totally out of control. Amy is constantly out of control on vodka. She is rattling about at home in north London drinking herself into oblivion. Three times this week she has been so drunk she passed out.”
Miss Winehouse had several bouts of treatment for drink and drugs, the most recent in May. Her 2006 album Back to Black featured a song called Rehab, which documented her drinking problems and refusal to seek help.
In 2007 she married Blake Fielder-Civil, and the pair had a sometimes violent relationship. Fielder-Civil was imprisoned for conspiring to pervert the course of justice in 2008 and the pair divorced in 2009. Winehouse’s father, Mitch, is understood to be returning to the UK from New York. He had been due to perform at the Blue Note jazz club in the city on Monday.
A message has been placed on the club’s website, reading: “We are very sad to report that the Mitch Winehouse performance on Monday July 25th is cancelled due to the unexpected death of his daughter, Amy Winehouse. Our condolences go out to Mitch and his family.”
Tributes to the singer have been appearing on Twitter and elsewhere. The singer Rihanna tweeted: “Dear God have mercy!!! I am SICK about this right now! #DearAmy” and the singer Katy B said: “I can’t believe this news about Amy Winehouse.. So sad.. Such an incredibly talented woman.. R.I.P Amy such an inspiration, my heart hurts”.
Singer Lily Allen said: “It’s just beyond sad, there’s nothing else to say. She was such a lost soul, may she rest in peace.” While Piers Morgan, the CNN broadcaster and former tabloid editor, tweeted: “Such desperately sad news re Amy Winehouse. Supreme natural talent, terrible self-destructive addictive personality. #RIP.”
Fans have begun to lay flowers at the edge of the police cordon around the singer’s Camden home. Jann Meyer, 33, who lives nearby, said he saw Winehouse around quite often. “It’s not really a shock, it was to be expected sooner or later. She was 27, and all good rock stars go at 27. She was very talented, she was amazing.”
Another neighbour, who did not want to be named, said she saw the singer’s grief-stricken boyfriend on the ground outside the house. Two women then came “speeding” up in a black Mercedes and walked in and out of the house crying. They said they believed the singer was at home last night.
Ron Brand, who had known Winehouse for about three years, said: “It’s a tragic loss. She was beautiful, talented of course, and gentle. I loved her.” Mr Brand, father of comedian Russell Brand, said he believed she was no longer on drugs.
Miss Winehouse has joined a long list of singers and musicians who died at the age of 27, including Jimi Hendrix, Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones, Janis Joplin, Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain and Jim Morrison of the Doors.
In an interview in 2008, Amy’s mother Janis said she would be unsurprised if her daughter died before her time. She said: “I’ve known for a long time that my daughter has problems. But seeing it on screen rammed it home. I realise my daughter could be dead within the year. We’re watching her kill herself, slowly.”
“I’ve already come to terms with her dead. I’ve steeled myself to ask her what ground she wants to be buried in, which cemetery. Because the drugs will get her if she stays on this road. I look at Heath Ledger and Britney. She’s on their path. It’s like watching a car crash – this person throwing all these gifts away.”
In addition, there was a website set up called When Will Amy Winehouse Die?, with visitors asked to guess the date of death with the chance of winning an iPod Touch. [via The Telegraph (UK), The Sun (UK) and The Daily Mail (UK)]