Amy Winehouse: Post-mortem today
The cause of death of Amy Winehouse will remain uncertain until at least today (Monday) when a post-mortem examination will be scheduled, according to British police.
Winehouse, whose sultry musical talents were overshadowed by her problems with drink and drugs, was found dead at her flat in London's trendy Camden district on Saturday. She was 27 years old.
Inappropriate to speculate on cause of death - police
Reports have suggested she died of an overdose but police have said it would be inappropriate to speculate.
"Enquiries continue into the circumstances of her death. At this early stage it is being treated as unexplained and there have been no arrests in connection with the incident," Superintendent Raj Kohli told reporters at the cordon around her flat late Saturday as fans gathered to pay tribute to the diva.
"I am aware of reports suggesting this death is the result of a suspected drugs overdose, 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."
Winner of five Grammys
Winehouse rocketed to fame after winning five Grammy awards off the back of her 2006 second album "Back to Black" and the hit single "Rehab".
But she struggled with her addictions, most recently cancelling a 12-date European comeback tour following a disastrous, apparently drunken opening performance in Serbia on June 18.
She had only recently spent a week at an addiction treatment clinic in London.
Winehouse one of the many music talents gone too soon
Amy Winehouse released only two albums in her life, one of which sold more than a million copies, won five Grammys and sparked a retro soul movement that hasn't yet stopped.
The small output, in inverse relation to her outsized talent, made her death Saturday in London all the more tragic. Fans will only be able to imagine the unrecorded singles, the never-to-be concerts and the comeback album that didn't come.
It's a sadly familiar script in pop music, the history of which is checkered with greats and would-be greats snuffed out too early in life.
Almost as soon as news of Winehouse's death broke and spread across social media, fans were inducting her into the unfortunate pantheon of music talents gone too soon. Many noted that Winehouse, 27, shared the same age at death as Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Brian Jones, Kurt Cobain and Jim Morrison.
The British singer-songwriter Billy Bragg, though, realized that a meaningful commonality was being mistaken for coincidence.
"It's not age that Hendrix, Jones, Joplin, Morrison, Cobain and Amy have in common," wrote Bragg on Twitter. "It's drug abuse, sadly."
Drug abuse common factor in early deaths of musicians
Those names were touted on the Web as the 27 Club, a ghoulish glamourizing of rock star death that makes it sound as though even in death VIPs remain behind a seductive velvet rope.
It's a term, sometimes called the Forever 27 Club, that has spawned a Wikipedia entry, an independent 2008 movie ("The 27 Club"), numerous websites and at least one book ("The 27s: The Greatest Myth of Rock & Roll").
The causes of death vary. Jones, the Rolling Stones guitarist, was found dead at the bottom of his swimming pool in 1969 and was ruled dead "by misadventure". Hendrix, having mixed sleeping pills and wine, died in 1970 in a London hotel room.
Joplin, also in 1970, died in her Porsche in Los Angeles, with heroin suspected as the culprit. Morrison died of heart failure in 1971 in the bathtub of his Paris apartment. Cobain killed himself in 1994.
What's particular about Winehouse's style of rock 'n' roll excess is that it was chronicled thoroughly by the tabloids and news media and was eagerly consumed by readers.
High-quality photographs captured her poor health, the scabs on her face and marks on her arms. Videos of her landed on the Internet, like one that showed her and Babyshambles singer Pete Doherty playing with newborn mice.
Another showed her singing a racist ditty to the tune of a children's song. One, published by a tabloid newspaper, appeared to show her smoking crack cocaine.
Her run-ins with the law - she was cautioned by the police in 2008 for assault and in 2010 pleaded guilty to assaulting a theatre manager who asked her to leave a family Christmas show because she'd had too much to drink - found headlines.
So did her romances, such as her brief marriage in 2007 to music industry hanger-on Blake Fielder-Civil.
Struggle with bipolar disorder
Rarely, though, were Winehouse's troubles romantic or appealing. Though a thoroughly captivating presence - all beehive and tattoos and candor - Winehouse always cut a desperate figure. Her struggles with substances and bipolar disorder (she said she declined to take medication for it) were painfully evident.
The posthumous releases from Winehouse will surely follow, and her legacy will grow. But hopefully mythologizing will be resisted.
Winehouse's death, an unfortunate but unsurprising end to a long, public decline, might be best remembered not just as another tragic loss but as a modern portrait of how untrue those rock myths really are.
Twitter statements on Winehouse's death:
"Drugs took her gift, her soul, her light, long before they took her life. RIP Amy." - Josh Groban
"Truly sad news about Amy Winehouse. My heart goes out to her family. May her troubled soul find peace." - Demi Moore
"R.I.P. Amy. Your Voice will live Forever." - Joel Madden
"This Amy Winehouse news is just so sad . To anyone struggling with addiction, please, please, please seek treatment." - Sophia Bush
"I'm not sure how anyone with a soul can make jokes about the passing of one of the most talented artists this generation will see." - Samantha Ronson
"i can't even breathe right my now i'm crying so hard I just lost one of my best friends. I love you forever Amy and will never forget the real you!" - Kelly Osbourne
"What a waste of a gifted person. What a shame she saw no hope and continued living her life in that manner. I have been that low emotionally and mentally and that is overwhelming." - Kelly Clarkson
"I'm so sad to hear the horrible news of Amy Winehouse's death. I'm so happy I knew you Amy...Rest Well. Gone Too Soon...we'll miss you!!" - Usher
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