IT was an end many had foreseen, but the death of troubled English pop star Amy Winehouse at the age of 27 is no less tragic or significant for that.
Winehouse’s long-term problems with drugs and alcohol had made her the focus of media attention since becoming a global success five years ago.
She was found dead at her apartment in London’s Camden Town on Saturday. Police said there were no suspicious circumstances.
The London-born singer will be best remembered for the hit song Rehab and in particular its chorus: “They tried to make me go to rehab … I said no, no, no”. They were lines that reflected her lifestyle, but which in their delivery also laid bare a British soul singer and songwriter with a rare and extremely engaging talent.
Winehouse first came to prominence in 2003, when her jazz-tinged debut album, Frank, entered the charts and was nominated for the Mercury Prize in Britain.
Her big breakthough, however, was with the follow-up album in 2006, Back to Black, which included Rehab and was overall a much more soul-inspired effort.
The album went on to win five Grammys, the most ever achieved by a British artist.
The drugs and alcohol problems that accompanied most of her career and the often erratic performances that went with them – as recently as last month – brought inevitable media criticism.
Winehouse made her last public appearance last Wednesday, joining her 15-year-old goddaughter Dionne Bromfield, on stage in London .
Three weeks earlier she cancelled all remaining dates on a European tour after being booed off stage in Belgrade.
Tributes have poured in from the music industry since her death was announced. Her producer, Mark Ronson, tweeted that Winehouse was “my musical soulmate and like a sister to me. This is the saddest day of my life.”
Australian ARIA-winning singer Megan Washington said she was deeply saddened by the news. “She was truly singular and an incredible artist,” Washington wrote on Twitter.