The Last Days of Amy Winehouse

British papers attempt to reconstruct her final appearances and addiction

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That Amy Winehouse was a beloved musician was beyond doubt after her death was announced yesterday, despite her troubled personal life and addictions. Fans flocked to her house in London after the announcement, laying flowers, and paid tribute at one of past favorite pubs, the Telegraph reports. The New York Times echoed the sentiment of many in their obituary, writing that:

Ms. Winehouse was no manufactured pop commodity. She was a genuine musician, among the very small handful of British singers whose version of American soul music had a gutsiness and flair far beyond what could be studied.

Following her death, many reports have come in of the last few days of her short life. Given Winehouse's battle with substance abuse, many believe, and it was initially suggested, that an overdose caused the death of the 27-year-old musician. Winehouse had canceled a European tour following a troubled stage performance last month, where she "stumbled across the stage, slurred through her songs, and threw a shoe into the crowd." But just a few days before her death, on July 20, she gave her last public appearance at the iTunes Festival, where she appeared on stage to help promote her protégé and goddaughter Dionne Bromfield’s new album. Video of her final performance is below.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, "Winehouse made a surprise appearance, hugging Bromfield and then dancing along as Bromfield sang 'Mama Said.' While Winehouse did not sing, she clapped with the song and encouraged the crowd to sing along."

Details after that performance have been constructed here largely through tabloid accounts, so are by no means reliable. What has come out is that anonymous friends of Winehouse told the British tabloid The Mirror that "she had hit the self-destruct button over the last two days in wild drinking ­sessions around Camden, North London." Neighbors also told The Mirror that two days before her death, "they saw her arrive in a cab with Big Brother star Aisleyne Horgan-Wallace. She collapsed when she got out of the taxi and had to be carried inside."

According to The Sunday Mirror, Winehouse's mom, Janis, saw her daughter just a day before her death, and said that her dying "seemed only a matter of time." She added: “She seemed out of it. But her passing so suddenly still hasn’t hit me.” Later that night, according to the Daily Mail, another British tabloid The People writes that Amy was out: "a source told the newspaper: 'Amy seemed determined to have a big one on Friday night. She was out in Camden on Friday evening, but seemed determined to carry on the party back at her flat." To that The Mirror adds that Amy spent an hour talking on the phone to "best friend" Kelly Osbourne, who said: “I was speaking to her last night, she seemed ­absolutely fine, I don’t understand how this could have ­happened.”

The Mirror writes that some sources have speculated that Winehouse died of a bad ecstasy pill and alcohol. However, Superintendent Raj Kohli has maintained that the death remains unexplained: ''I am aware of reports suggesting that the death was a result of a suspected drugs overdose," he said to the Telegraph, "but I would like to re-emphasize that no post-mortem examination has yet taken place and it would be inappropriate to speculate on the cause of death.''
Until then, the music industry and her friends continue to pay their tributes.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.