She died yesterday at her house in Camden, London. Probably of an overdose of some kind. She was 27.
The mythologising has already begun, online and in the papers. Another musician, dead at 27 because of drug addiction. Her, and Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, John Morrison, Kurt Cobain, and others.
Russell Brand, who’s been around the addiction block himself, wrote a eulogy for her on his blog. He has this to say about rock stars and drugs:
Now Amy Winehouse is dead, like many others whose unnecessary deaths have been retrospectively romanticised, at 27 years old. Whether this tragedy was preventable or not is now irrelevant. It is not preventable today. We have lost a beautiful and talented woman to this disease. Not all addicts have Amy’s incredible talent. Or Kurt’s or Jimi’s or Janis’s, some people just get the affliction. All we can do is adapt the way we view this condition, not as a crime or a romantic affectation but as a disease that will kill.
Winehouse’s life is less easy to romanticise than the lives of the others. She had that amazing voice, but only released two albums, and the last five years or so of her life were a slow-motion death, her addictions consuming and overwhelming any artistic output.
I’m not sure that I have a point in particular here. I’m just sorry that her life went awry for her, sorry that she was unable to take the help she was offered, and sorry that she didn’t get to use her gifts to the fullest.