Amy Winehouse is Dead

winehouse as a teenager

Singer Amy Winehouse was found dead today in her home in London. Winehouse was 27 years old. Paramedics were called to her home around 4 pm but Winehouse was dead at the scene when they arrived.

About a month ago, Amy Winehouse kicked off what was supposed to be a 12-date European tour in Belgrade, Serbia. She showed up an hour late, fought with the band, tossed a shoe into the audience, stumbled around stage and slurred her words. Everybody booed and many walked out of the show. Prior to the tour Winehouse had completed a Rehab Assessment at the Priory Clinic in London, who had given her the go-ahead to continue treatment as an outpatient during her tour. But after the trainwreck of her first performance, the rest of the tour was called off. This was not the first time Winehouse has attempted to perform drunk or inspired boos from the crowd.

Amy Winehouse was without a doubt an incredibly talented musician whose career was repeatedly sidetracked by her mental health problems and troubles with drugs and alcohol.

Winehouse grew up in Southgate, a north London suburb. After her parents divorced when Winehouse was nine, she enrolled at the Susi Earnshaw Theatre School and studied there for four years before earning a scholarship to the prestigious Sylvia Young Theatre School in London. Winehouse was kicked out of Sylvia Young and a subsequent series of other schools.

Winehouse released her first album, Frank, in 2003, which performed well in the UK — but her 2006 follow-up, Back to Black, was a really big deal. At the 2008 Grammys, Winehouse won Best New Artist and her single “Rehab” picked up Record of the Year, Song of the Year and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. The “Back to Black” album itself earned honors for Mark Ronson as Producer of the Year as well as snagging the Best Pop Vocal Album award.

These were troubled times, however — she reportedly wrote Back to Black during “a period of drinking, heavy drug use, violent mood swings and weight loss.” Winehouse met her (now-ex) husband Blake Fielders-Civil in 2005 at a bar in Camden. He took credit in News of the World for introducing the young singer to crack and heroin. They married in May 2007. Winehouse carried out a number of relatively competent performances that summer, but in August 2007, Winehouse canceled a series of UK shows and was shortly thereafter hospitalized for an overdose of heroin, ecstasy, cocaine, ketamine and alcohol.

In November 2007 she canceled all her tour dates allegedly because she was unable to perform while her husband was incarcerated: “I can’t give it my all onstage without my Blake. I’m so sorry but I don’t want to do the shows half-heartedly; I love singing. My husband is everything to me and without him it’s just not the same.”

Rolling Stone reported at the time: “The cancelations come as a shock to fans eager to see Winehouse forget lyrics, weep uncontrollably and leave the stage prematurely.”

She checked into rehab in early 2008 but the subsequent years were marked by intoxicated public appearances, legal troubles and cancelled performances. Winehouse and Fielder-Civil divorced in 2009.

In her 2007 Rolling Stone Cover Story, writer Jenny Eliscu noted: “Winehouse says that she’s always been the kind of girl who loves looking after the people close to her. But you don’t need to spend much time around the singer to get the impression that she could really use some looking after herself.”

Before checking into rehab this May, doctors reportedly warned Amy “to quit drinking or die.”

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Riese is the 36-year-old CEO, CFO and Editor-in-Chief of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, blogger, fictionist, copywriter, video-maker, low-key power lesbian and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and then headed West. Her work has appeared in nine books including "The Bigger the Better The Tighter The Sweater: 21 Funny Women on Beauty, Body Image & Other Hazards Of Being Female," magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 2509 articles for us.

89 Comments

  1. No cause of death has been announced yet, but I don’t think anyone will be surprised if official word is a drug overdose. Makes listening to Rehab a little more uncomfortable. She had a lot of talent and vision. This is a stark reminder of how damaging drugs can be from someone who was apologetic about her drug use. Her biggest hit was about being addicted to drugs, but if she had stopped, she’d still be here today.

    • Me too. I am in working today, noone else here, and saw it on the net. I couldn’t believe it. I sat here crying and finally got myself together enough to call my wife and talk through it a bit (she liked Amy ok, but wasn’t into her like I was). Omigod, it’s just awful. I always so hoped that she would get better, just felt so bad for her and all she went though. It’s just horrid. I just feel empty inside.

    • Me too, and I don’t usually post when someone famous dies. Back to Black is one of my all time favorites and when I first played it I thought, how often does this kind of talent come around–not often. And I looked forward to more music from her. Lately it seemed less and less likely and I found myself hoping more that she would just find a way to get healthy.
      I don’t like some things I’ve read in the social media like “if she was an average person with no musical talent no one would care.” First, yes people do care about ‘average’ people dying. And second, she was not an average person. She had talent that was rare and in the last years that was lost among her problems. I won’t even go into the ignorance pretending to be knowledge in regard to addiction, I’d be typing forever.

    • I feel like I’m grieving, except so far I’ve just had anger and anger and anger. Whatever her addictions her demons none of that shit matters anymore. Her music feels like a ghost now.

  2. The reason why the club 27 exist is because 27 to 29 years old marks the year of the return of Saturn. It’s sad and I’m angry because everybody saw that she wasn’t doing fine and just kinda ignored it. If somebody was having a heart attack right in front of you would you ignore it? Why is addiction any different?

  3. Damn, Back to Black was my go to cd for heartbreak and hard times. I prayed for her to get back on track every time I would listen to her music. She was extremely talented, my heart broke when I read the news. Forever goodnight Amy, you will be missed.

  4. This is not surprising, but it’s still so sad. Poor Amy. Several members of my family have battled addiction and compulsive behavior, so I know how devastating it can be not just for the troubled person but for their friends and family as well. My heart goes out to her people.

  5. I’m so sad about this. I had been hoping she’d get better and put out a new album for so long now. And the really nasty responses her death is getting on the internet aren’t making me feel any better. Like, “lol she only had one hit song, and it was only popular because it was so ironic.” I’m sick of seeing that shit. Amy was so talented and seemed to have a lot of heart, and I wish she could’ve overcome her demons so she’d have been able to share more of it with us.

  6. this makes me so pissed! I really was waiting for her to get on the right track. Its so sad because she has so much talent. I know people say she is just another celebrity but she was a big talent and had alot of potential. I dont know her but ill definitely miss her music. Anways she was one of my favorite artists soo im pretty sad about it, let alone i didnt realize she was 27 and now is in the 27 club… this is stupid.

  7. Ugh. This sucks.

    Unfortunately this is what happens when addicts use and when alcoholics drink: they die. Or worse, they survive and are stuck in a living hell. Maybe now she has some of the serenity that she couldn’t find.

  8. I can’t even.. it’s been a really shitty weekend so far.. the news here have been filled with horrifying eyewitness reports from the massacre in Norway. i have a lot of friends there, so i kinda have a lot of feelings about it.. and now this.. I haven’t listened to a lot of her music, but always thought she was really special, you know? so talented..
    on days like these it’s important to appreciate the little things in life, like, whiskey kittens, riese’s recaps and oils and stuff..
    thank you for this..

  9. I’m deeply saddened by the news of Amy’s death. It brings tears to my eyes knowing that such a young talent is now gone. I had such high hopes for her after leaving rehab in June. I was hoping she’d get clean and start making beautiful music for us again, with that sweet, sultry voice she knew how to use so well. She will be missed by millions – for her humor, personality, but mostly that amazing voice and the wonderful performances she gave on-stage. Rest in peace, Amy. We’ll miss you much.

  10. As tragic as this is, I must say that the incidents in Norway that resulted to 92 people getting killed on Friday (most of them teenagers) leave me without words. There’s something really wrong about us human beings. I wonder when we stopped caring about each other.

    Rest in peace Amy and the people who lost their lives in Oslo and Utøya.

    • They posted this picture of the island where the youth get-together was. You could see dead bodies scattered across the shore to the waters. It was the most disturbing photo — the park island looks like a beautiful spot — and I can’t believe news organizations published it. I saw the same photo with the bodies blurred on some websites. I wouldn’t expect this website would cover that — this is an American website and has nothing to do with girl-on-girl culture — but it seems like a lot of people care more about Amy Winehouse, who was the cause of at least many of her problems, than these poor Norwegians who were the victims of a madman. So senseless and sad.

      • *the Norway tragedy has nothing to do with girl-on-girl culture, is what I meant. Amy Winehouse arguably may fit this website better. Also, when I say people care more about Winehouse than Norway, I mean my friends I see on Facebook and stuff. Not directed at Autostraddle at all.

  11. Thank you for the post. I am usually irritated by people caring about the death of celebrities…bt I cannot imagine my life without the album Frank. It was in my ears when I was sitting in Maths class with an attitude problem. I put Stronger Than Me on full volume when I was really fucking sad, because it relaxed me.

    And I am fucking sick to death of the way people talk about this. It makes me SO angry and I don’t know why because I never met her, but I’m so sad and angry with people going ON about her drug use, making jokes, or even like how and Chely Wright tweeted some preachy stuff about how drugs are bad. We know she did drugs. We know drugs are bad. But she’s gone, let her rest peacefully and keep your comments to yourself. Saying you saw it coming won’t bring comfort, so leave it unsaid.

    • Yes, I was thinking this when I read that she had passed away. So many people made ridiculed her struggles and acted as if she was just a joke not a human being while she was alive… and they are just continuing that cruelty beyond her death. So terrible.

    • Why are you making it a contest? There is room to grieve a Amy Winehouse’s death and to feel grief over the tragedy in Norway. But this article is about Amy Winehouse and she deserves a tribute as well as the 92 people who lost their lives to senseless violence in Norway.
      Let’s not forget that she was human to.

    • It’s jarring but I can understand it. This is a website primarily about queer women, containing info and updates about queer stuff and entertainment/political news that pertain to being a woman and queer in some way or form. I’m pretty sure if the killer had shot 82 people at a lgbt camp, AS would be covering it.

      That being said, I have family and friends in Norway. I really don’t give two shits about Amy Winehouse right now.

      • That’s your right to not feel two shits about Amy Winehouse, and it’s true that AS would be covering 82 shot at a lgbt camp. This site covers music but rarely things of world news as Riese and others have said but do link to many events.

        That being said, I do give two shits about Amy Winehouse, and so do others so I don’t get your negating of that– particularly after explaining that you “can understand it.”

        • I must have some strange and awesome power indeed, if my opinion can negate your opinion. And yes, I can understand AS featuring a article about Winehouse rather than the Norway massacre. I still don’t care about Winehouse. Why is that a difficult concept?

          • Your concept is understood. But no, you don’t have awesome powers. If you did, you would go on a website about the Norway massacre and and post that you don’t give two shits about Amy Winehouse, not here after saying “I understand.”

          • Not so difficult, but it’s insensitive and unnecessary to share on a thread consisting almost entirely of people who are sad that Amy Winehouse is dead the fact you don’t give ‘two shits’ about her.

          • Let me repeat, I have family and friends who have been the victims of a massacre. If you feel that my opinion is insensitive then I’ll just have to live with being an insensitive person.

          • If you have family and friends who have been injured or killed in the recent attacks, then I am very sorry for you and them. I do not agree with what you said at all, but if you said it in grief or shock, it is more understandable.

            I have my own connections to Norway, and two of my best friends were in Oslo on the day of the attacks… actually I had plans to journey to Oslo in a month, though I might wait a little longer now. Fortunately no-one I know is wounded or dead, but I am mourning for Norway too.

    • hi! it looks like people have already said what i would say. I admit I’m surprised by your comment because like others have said, we’re not a full or world news site. We focus on queer and feminist news, occasionally US/Canadian politics (though I can’t remember anything we’ve written on that wasn’t tied back to a queer/feminist issue) and world news on queer issues. We write about popular music and Amy Winehouse was a musician. We also talk about females in the spotlight, drug addiction, mental health, etc.

      I think the only times we’ve covered anything out of our general beat is:
      1) Osama Bin Laaden’s death (because we knew it would generate a lot of heated discourse and wanted to create a place for people to talk about it where they felt comfortable)
      2) The Tsunami in Japan — which we actually debated whether or not to write about it for a while before I decided to stop thinking about it and just write a thing.

      We do often include other tragedies in daily fix/alsoalsoalso/”link dump” posts, however — with links to sources that can report it better.

      This feels like a crass conversation to have at all, but we can’t get into the business of ranking tragedies and we’re not equipped to cover major news thoroughly so it’s better just to leave that to other news outlets lest we appear to be cherrypicking which news stories are worth our time/space. If we talk about Norway then other questions are raised — why didn’t we talk about the bombing in Russia in January? The protests in Egypt or anything at all about Egypt? The volcano in Chile or last year’s earthquake in Chile? Last year’s earthquake in Haiti? You know?

      • Thank you for that Riese. Even though others explained it, it means a lot that you took the time to explain the reasons for this post and why there isn’t one about Oslo.

        I think it is easier for people to talk about/grieve the death of Amy because people tend to feel a personal connection with artist’s and their work. With what happened in Norway we can grieve about it in a broad human way, a sadness for humanity, but most of us probably don’t have personal connections to Norway. The grief and sadness might be different, but they’re still there. And they matter just as much. It doesn’t have to be an either/or, bad/worse type of thing.

      • Just wanted to say that with my previous comment I was only expressing personal grief due to the tragedies in Norway (I live in the neighboring country and know a lot of Norwegians). I also feel that Amy’s death is tragic, she really was a talented musician… and I definitely wasn’t trying to steal the focus away from the subject of this article.

        I do not expect Autostraddle to cover the incidents in Norway, better leave that to the news sites. My comment was probably misplaced and I apologize for that. I do not believe in comparing tragedies.

  12. This is not a fully fledged news site. Many tragic things in the world are not reported here. This particular case obviously meant something to Reise so she wrote about it. It does not mean it is more tragic than what has happened in Norway. Death is not a competion. Nor are news storys.

    • Right. I mean, there’s also growing famine in East Africa and violent political turmoil in Syria, but AS doesn’t cover everything in the world. There are many queer women who care a lot about Norway and what happened there, including myself, but I don’t think AS is the first place we would go to discuss it.

  13. Don’t make it a competition, people. Death, no matter who’s it is, is a terrible thing. Amy Winehouse meant a great deal to a lot of people, including myself. Being part of the jazz community, I felt connected to her in some way. Her being my favorite artist, well, this hit me fairly hard. Regarding the terrorist attacks in Norway, I’m sure everyone can relate to losing someone close to them. I sure feel for the families of those who’s innocent lives were lost. Stop putting these two stories on the scales. They’re both tragic and deserve some common decency from each and every reader.

  14. This is incredibly upsetting. She had so much brilliance and so much soul, y’know? Back To Black was playing during the first road trip I took with my girlfriend, so I have a lot of feelings connected to it.
    R.I.P Amy.

  15. I, of course, echo others’ sentiments about how sad this is.

    I am commenting, though, to say that I saw this as a story on several major news sites. This is the most thorough, respectful, and journalistic story on it I’ve read today. I already love the site, but it’s nice to be able to read something like this (and the other stories you’ve been doing the last couple of years on other subjects) and smirk. While some say journalism, writing, and even thought itself is dying on the internet, especially at the hands of blogs, Autostraddle proves them wrong … and let’s me read about about ice cream and boobs. 🙂

    • thank you — honestly i was shocked that when i was trying to find photos of her they were all these invasive paparazzi shots of her in various states of decay and intoxication (we have a policy to not ever publish paparazzi photos (unless they’re of lindsay & sam getting back together)). i wasn’t a big fan of winehouse’s or anything, but i read rolling stone so i’d read that article about her and remember thinking it was really sad and unfortunate and not remotely funny or worth mocking. did you know there’s a website where you can win a free ipod if you correctly guess when amy winehouse will die? I guess someone won that ipod today, probably. i didn’t know that website existed until googling her today. so fucked up.

    • This. I came to Autostraddle to read about Amy b/c I knew the article here would be respectful (and probably include pretty pictures). Same with a couple other queer/lesbian sites I frequent. I don’t have the same faith in the mainstream media.

  16. I remember wishing for a roundtable or post by the AS staff who cover music to do a breakdown of Back to Black. That’s how much I love that album and growing up in Michigan I appreciated the Motown influence. I really can’t any major fault with any tracks. And I will always love her for the line ‘what kind of fuckery is this..”

  17. This is kind of late, but I read this from NPR: http://www.npr.org/blogs/therecord/2011/07/23/138640210/amy-winehouse-british-retro-soul-singer-has-died?sc=tumblt&cc=nprmusic

    and it made me feel a lot better – or at least it really put my feelings into words. Especially this bit: “Women’s suffering has often inspired admiration from audiences whose embrace of their tragic heroine can seem like equal parts sympathy and sadism. Those of us who took pleasure in the fruits of Amy Winehouse’s inner turmoil now have to acknowledge its ultimate end. As we contemplate this, we can also revel in what was most entrancing about her music: its brashness and utterly engaging power, the upfront expression of a woman who was loud without apology. Her big notes still live.”

    This article on Autostraddle and that obit on NPR really made me feel a lot better after reading tons of other bullshit being published about her death.

  18. You know…Despite Amy Winehouse’s antics, and abuse. She was a very talented girl. Back to Black is a fantastic album aside from who or what she was/represented. I feel her because I know what it’s like to need help, and have others give up on me. I may always and forever be like that in reality. To watch a train wreck keep happening and happening and nothing be able to stop it, is truly sad. She was no where near my favorite artist, but she was someone I enjoyed listening to, and respected nonetheless. Sorry it had to end this way. Death is sad regardless of who it is. Good or “flawed” (and who isn’t?) 🙁

  19. She was a talented woman. At the same time (and I’m fully aware that this makes me the downer dyke at the party) almost 80 or so left wingy teens were massacred in Norway by a right wing Neo-Nazi racist fuck this weekend, yet hers is the lead story in most every news site I’ve read in the past few days?! Loss is terrible, horrific, and I appreciate that Winehouse is being honored here. I understand why Norway massacre isn’t, at this site. Doesn’t anyone else, though, find it screwy that all of these kids being gunned down is the secondary story to that of someone who, sadly, prolly killed herself, directly or not?

    I’m totally hijacking- with bad grammar. Gah!

  20. I don’t see why it’s a surprise that Amy Winehouse is getting more attention than Norway when in this country celebrity news gets 10x more attention than our dead and or injured troops.

    • True. I felt more rankled than surprised when reading and hearing more about Winehouse than Norway- and like I said, or tried to, I realize that Autostraddle isn’t responsible for covering every tragic world event. I have, however, read some great articles here that make an excellent effort to acknowledge and/or cover them. And Paper- I just want you to know that it is not just people in Norway that feel solidarity with you in standing for peace, friendship, and tolerance!

  21. The one thing that is keeping us going as we find out that our friends and classmates are among the ones who have lost their lives, is that we can all come together and show ourselves and the world that we will not be defeated by hate. There is no use in fighting for publicity (and frankly, AS is not the place), there has already been so many pictures and words, but let us instead show the world that we believe in peace, in friendship, and in tolerance.

    Jeg savner dere.

  22. Amy Winehouse was brilliant and her voice was one of the most emotionally evocative I’ve ever heard. I (hope) to remember her and her music for a very long time. It’s clear that she was deeply in pain, so while it’s a loss for us to never hear what more she had to sing, I’d like to think that she’s free.

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