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Culture

Troubled singer Amy Winehouse dies at 27

media Singer Amy Winehouse has died aged 27 REUTERS/Luke MacGregor

Troubled British singer Amy Winehouse, whose drink and drug addictions overshadowed her exceptional sultry voice, was found dead at her London home on Saturday afternoon. She was 27.

The Grammy award-winning soul singer, with her trademark beehive hairstyle, had laid bare her demons in her music, notably her biggest hit single "Rehab".

Reports suggested that the soul singer died of a drug overdose, but police said it was inappropriate to speculate on the circumstances of her death, which is being treated as unexplained.

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

Fans soon began to gather and lay flowers candles and teddy bears at the police cordon outside, while friends and fellow stars voiced their shock and sadness.

A London Ambulance Service (LAS) spokeswoman told AFP they were called to her home at 3:54 pm (1454 GMT) Saturday and sent two ambulance crews which arrived within five minutes.

"Sadly the patient had died," the spokeswoman said.

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

The LAS called the police within minutes of reaching her house.

"On arrival, officers found the body of a 27-year-old female who was pronounced dead at the scene. Next of kin have been informed, and I can confirm that the deceased is Amy Winehouse," Superintendent Raj Kohli told reporters at the cordon.

"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.

"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."

One neighbour reported hearing screaming coming from the house in the early hours of Saturday.

The singer had a 12-date European comeback tour scheduled but pulled out following a disastrous opening performance in Serbia on June 18.

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 the late singer said her father was aware of her death and 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.

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."

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".

Her comeback tour lasted one performance last month when she was booed at the opening performance in Belgrade, apparently too drunk to sing. She stumbled her way through the 90-minute gig, mumbling the lyrics and failing to follow her band.

In cancelling the rest of the tour, her representatives said: "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."

She made her final public appearance at The Roundhouse venue 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.

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

Known for her distinctive, smoky voice, Winehouse's debut album "Frank" was
released in 2003 and brought her wide acclaim. It went triple platinum in Britain.

The follow-up, "Back to Black", was a worldwide smash hit, reaching number one in Britain and number two in the US charts. It went six times platinum in Britain and double platinum in the United States.

She married Blake Fielder-Civil in Miami in May 2007 but they had a tempestuous relationship. He spent part of their marriage behind bars for a vicious attack on a pub landlord and a subsequent attempt to cover it up.

They divorced in July 2009.

She joins the notorious "27 Club" -- the tragic group of famous rock stars who passed away at the age of 27.

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

 
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