Tributes pour in for Rehab singer Amy Winehouse who joined tragic '27 Club'

AFP, Sunday 24 Jul 2011

Fans and fellow stars mourne Amy Winehouse after the troubled British singer, who immortalised her struggles with addiction in the hit Rehab, was found dead in her London home at age 27

Amy Winehouse
British singer Amy Winehouse performing at the St. Lucia Jazz Festival on 8 May, 2009. Winehouse has been found dead at her home in north London, Sky News reported on 23 July 23, 2011. (photo: Reuters)

 

Reports said the Grammy award-winning soul singer, with her trademark beehive hairstyle, overdosed on drugs though police refused to speculate on the cause of her death on Saturday, 23 July, saying it remained unexplained.

"Death of Amy Winehouse -- a date and time for the post-mortem will not be scheduled before Monday morning," London's Metropolitan Police said in a statement on Sunday. It said enquiries were ongoing and no arrests had been made.

Fans gathered and laid flowers and candles at the police cordon outside her house in Camden, north London, soon after her death was announced. Friends and fellow stars voiced their shock and sadness.

Producer Mark Ronson, who worked closely with Winehouse, said, "She was my musical soul mate and like a sister to me. This is one of the saddest days of my life."

With her distinctive hairdo, heavy eye-liner and tattoos, Winehouse rocketed to fame with her 2003 debut album, "Frank." The record went triple platinum in Britain.

The 2006 follow-up, Back to Black, was a worldwide smash hit, reaching number one in Britain, second on US charts and winning five Grammy awards.
The album also spawned the hit Rehab, the chorus of which goes: "They tried to make me go to rehab, I said no, no, no."

In the end Winehouse was in rehab several times, most recently just weeks before embarking on what was meant to be a European comeback tour.

The singer pulled out following a disastrous opening performance in Serbia on 18 June during which she was booed on stage, apparently too drunk to sing. She stumbled her way through the 90-minute gig, mumbling and unable to sing with her band.

She made her final public appearance at The Roundhouse in Camden on Wednesday, joining her goddaughter Dionne Bromfield on stage. She briefly danced and encouraged the audience to buy the 15-year-old's album.

On Saturday police forensic officers were seen going in and out of her home before a private ambulance pulled up outside. Two officials in black suits then brought out a body bag on a stretcher.

"I am aware of reports suggesting this death is the result of a suspected drugs overdose," police Superintendent Raj Kohli told reporters at the cordon outside her house late Saturday.

"But I would like to re-emphasise that no post-mortem examination has yet taken place and it would be inappropriate to speculate on the cause of death."

One neighbour reported hearing screaming from her house early on Saturday.

Outside her flat in Camden square fans left flowers, notes, guitars, teddy bears and photographs. "Amy, we will miss your great talent. RIP," read one note left in a bunch of flowers.

Shamini, a 25-year-old accountant and a Winehouse fan, told AFP, "It's such a young age, and it's unbelievable, it's unbelievable. It's almost like when Michael Jackson died."

Amy Winehouse was a "wild spirit" who followed her own path in life, her stage school principal said after the troubled young British soul singer was found dead.
Winehouse attended the Sylvia Young Theatre School in London, earning a half-scholarship before leaving at the age of 15.

"She was a wild spirit. She was her own person. She would follow what she wanted to do. There was no question about that," Young told BBC television.

"She was extremely bright and wrote brilliantly and that is why her lyrics are so clever and meaningful, apart from the fabulous voice."
Young said that everyone at the school was "devastated."

In the run-up to her live return, Winehouse spent a week at an addiction treatment clinic in London, reportedly at the suggestion of her father, Mitch, over concerns that she was drinking too much.

A spokesman for Winehouse said her father, a London taxi driver and jazz aficionado, had heard of her death and was making his way back from New York.
"Everyone involved with Amy is shocked and devastated. Our thoughts are with her family and friends. The family will issue a statement when ready," he said.

Winehouse married Blake Fielder-Civil in Miami in May 2007 but they had a tempestuous relationship. He spent part of their marriage behind bars for an attack on a pub landlord and they divorced in July 2009.

Her record label Universal said in a statement: "We are deeply saddened at the sudden loss of such a gifted musician, artist and performer. Our prayers go out to Amy's family, friends and fans at this difficult time."

Tragic '27 Club'

Amy Winehouse, has joined a tragic group of famous rock stars who passed away at the age of 27 -- the notorious "27 Club."

Rolling Stones founding member Brian Jones, guitarist Jimi Hendrix, singer Janis Joplin, The Doors singer Jim Morrison and Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain are the other major "members" of the ill-fated club.

The first to die was Jones, who left the Stones after disagreements with other members. Jones, who had problems with drugs and alcohol, was found drowned in the swimming pool of his estate in Sussex, southern England, in July 1969. An inquest recorded the cause as death by misadventure, but speculation has continued that he was murdered.

Hendrix, the pioneering American guitar wizard whose hits included Purple Haze and Hey Joe, followed one year later. Hendrix choked on his own vomit in a hotel in London on 18 September, 1970 after swallowing sleeping pills and drinking red wine.

Less than a month later, on 4 October, 1970, Joplin was dead at the same age. Known for her bluesy vocal style, the US singer died of a suspected heroin overdose. Her album, Pearl, was released posthumously and became her biggest seller.

In 1971 Jim Morrison, US singer of the hit, Light My Fire, and brooding masterpiece The End died in his bathtub in his Paris flat on 3 July, 1971.

Meanwhile Cobain, best known for the hit Smells Like Teen Spirit, died in early April 1994 and had had his own well-documented struggles with heroin during his brief career with US grunge rockers Nirvana. Just weeks after taking an overdose of tranquilisers in Rome, Cobain, married to the troubled Courtney Love, reportedly killed himself with a shotgun at his house in Seattle.
Following his death, Cobain’s mother Wendy was quoted as saying, "Now he's gone and joined that stupid club. I told him not to join that stupid club."

Outside Winehouse's home in Camden, neighbour Jann Meyer, 33, said, "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."

Meanwhile British folk singer Billy Bragg had a sober take on membership of the "27 Club."

The Londoner said on Twitter: "It's not age that Hendrix, Jones, Joplin, Morrison, Cobain and Amy have in common -- it's drug abuse, sadly."

 

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