Amy Winehouse: the tragedy and the tributes

Nearly 48 hours after the world learnt of Amy's sudden, tragic death, the world mourns in a manner as extravagant as the lady herself.


Words by: Charlie Jones

Two days after the world was stunned to learn of the untimely death of Amy Winehouse, police state that her death is “as yet unexplained”. As Winehouse’s body undergoes toxicology tests to determine her cause of death, The Sun and The Daily Mail amongst others are reporting that preliminary police investigations have found no drug paraphernalia in the singer’s Camden home. Amy was found in her bed by a member of her security team at 3.54pm on Saturday; the last time she had spoken to anyone was 10am the same day. A medical check-up the night before had found her to be in good health. Post mortem results are expected today.

Mixing tradition with the macabre and the near-tasteless in a style that is perhaps fitting to the woman herself, fans have been paying tribute to Amy this weekend by leaving not only flowers and pictures, but also vodka bottles, wine glasses and packets of cigarettes outside her home. Testament to the colourful life she lead, this array of unusual offerings is making sure that her fiery presence is still firmly felt.

Stars across the world, including Lady Gaga , have expressed their utmost respect for the 60s-inspired jazz singer – M.I.A. tweeted yesterday: “i recorded this song B4 vickileekx and never put it out. its a unfinished demo R.I.P A.M.Y.” The eerily relevant track, 27, features the lyrics “I took you to the clinic/To get you clean but you couldn’t,” bouncing airily over a solid beat. You can stream it below.

27 by M_I_A

Russell Brand has also written a moving tribute to his late friend, who he remembers as “some twit in a pink satin jacket” in his blog post entitled For Amy. Delicately outlining his memories of her both as a person and as a “fucking genius”, Brand also takes the opportunity to talk from experience about society’s attitudes to drug addiction, and the need for emphasis on rehabilitation.

Further tributes have been splashed across the pages of newspapers throughout the weekend and today, with this timeline-style feature by Gordon Smart in The Sun detailing Amy’s early life, rise to fame and battle with drugs with great personal insight.

Alexis Petridis’ feature in The Guardian and Sophie Heawood’s piece in The Independent are also both worth a read, as they take care to avoid the blame culture surrounding Amy’s troubles, and remember her for her personality, which could grasp a room in laughter, and her talent, which could grasp a room in awe.

Today, the music world is still in shock, as it comes to terms with being a place in which no more records like Back to Black will ever be released. Outside of the desperately sad (and well-documented) facts of her addictions, and the seemingly indomitable swagger with which she approached them, the crux of the tragedy, for us fans, lies in her heartbreaking performances and that soul-soaked voice, the likes of which we will never hear again. For her family and many friends, the loss is, of course, obscenely greater. Our thoughts are with them during this time.

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