Amy Winehouse overdose death
Winehouse and Drug Addiction
When Amy Winehouse died on July 23, 2011, no one was surprised. Unlike so many celebrities who hide their addictions, British singer Amy Winehouse was very public about hers. In fact, she sang openly about drugs, and her most famous songs was "Rehab." Her fans were aware that she drank heavily and used hard drugs, including heroin and crack cocaine. They knew that her addictions caused her to behave erratically and violently, and followed her every new scandal and arrest. They also knew drugs were ruining her health. Winehouse was clear that she was not going to complete a rehabilitation program, and left one after only a week. Because the violent incidents kept compounding and her health kept deteriorating, it always seemed only a matter of time before she overdosed and died.
The British rock star, born in 1983, showed early promise as a musician and was enrolled in a school for the performing arts by the time she was ten. She was writing music and playing guitar by age 14, and made her debut album, "Frank," in 2003. It achieved platinum sales and was nominated for several major awards. Her second album in 2006 made her world famous. "Back to Black" had six Grammy nominations, and five wins, including the big awards for Best New Artist, Record of the Year, and Song of the Year.
"Frank" and "Back to Black" were Winehouse's only recordings, but they sold over six million copies.
Amy Winehouse was influenced by 1960s girl rock bands, and it carried into her fashion. She combined a 1960s beehive hairdo and cat's eyes makeup with punk rock clothes, and launched her own line of clothing in 2010. She attracted big audiences during her various tours in Europe, Brazil and other countries, and appeared in different London clubs as well. She had her own record company, Lioness Records.
Erratic Behavior & Drugs
Winehouse was a famous singer, but she was just as well-known for her violent and erratic behaviors, which she attributed to drug use. She once said her "whole marriage was based on doing drugs together" and she talked about how she abused her husband physically when she was drinking. At one point she and her husband were photographed bloodied and bruised from a particularly spectacular fight, and she said, "If he does anything I don't like, I chin him."
Winehouse and her husband often got in trouble with the police for violence and possession of drugs. He spent seven months in prison in 2008 for assault. They both were arrested in Norway in 2007 for possession of marijuana, and she was investigated in Great Britain for similar reasons. In 2009 she was charged with assault after hitting a woman in the eye, spitting on another, and headbutting a photographer a charity ball. She was arrested later that same year on yet another assault charge.
Winehouse was supposed to go on a 17-city tour in 2007, but she appeared too intoxicated at several concerts, and some in the audience booed and walked out. She cancelled most of the tour, blaming it on poor health. During performances in 2009 and 2010, she forgot her lines and seemed intoxicated and distracted. She had to cancel the last concerts of a 12-city European tour in 2011 for similar reasons.
In 2007 a picture of Winehouse, wearing only a bra and jeans and looking dazed in front of her house in the middle of the night, went around the Internet. Her publicist explained that she was having problems and being supervised by a doctor. In 2008 there were allegations that Winehouse had sung a racist rant, which apparently was on film, forcing her to assert that she was not against minorities.
Health Issues and Drugs
Winehouse was open about her drug and alcohol use, but she excused herself because she said she had bipolar disorder. She would not take medications for her illness, however. She also said she had an untreated eating disorder. Despite her arrests and other drug-related problems, she did not like residential treatment programs, and notoriously left one after a week.
Drugs, alcohol, and untreated mental illnesses slowly ruined her health. In August 2007 she had to be hospitalized after taking an overdose of heroin, ecstasy, cocaine, ketamine and alcohol. In 2008, her father said that she was being treated for early stage emphysema from smoking crack cocaine, and her lungs were only at 70% capacity.
Death and Autopsy
The night of July 22, 2011, Winehouse went to a doctor for a routine appointment and returned to her home in Camden Square, London. She was singing and playing the drums so loudly that a security guard asked her to quiet down about 2 A.M. The next day at 8 A.M., the same guard checked on her and found her asleep. Around 4 P.M. medical emergency technicians arrived with an ambulance and pronounced her dead, and police later confirmed that. On July 26, the results of tests on her body were recorded as inconclusive, and no cause of death could be given.
The final results of her autopsy will be released October 26, 2011.