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Sunday, July 24, 2011

Sordid final hours of a troubled star: Amy Winehouse had 'bought ecstasy, cocaine and ketamine' on the night before tragic death

By Lara Gould, Sarah Bull and Jessica Satherley

-Troubled singer had a long battle with drink and drugs
-Devastated after split from director Traviss last month
-Father Mitch flies home from New York 'to be with Amy'
-Autopsy could take place 'within next 24 hours'
-Claims she bought cocaine, heroin, ecstasy and ketamine in the hours leading up to her death

Tragic death: Amy Winehouse was found dead in her flat yesterday

The sordid details of Amy Winehouse's final hours emerged today, with claims that she bought a cocktail of narcotics including cocaine, ecstasy and ketamine.

Although the exact cause of death has not yet been released by police, Sunday tabloids have claimed she was seen buying drugs from a dealer in Camden just after 10:30pm on Friday.

A source told The People that she was seen buying substances, believed to be cocaine, heroin, ecstasy and ketamine leading up to the hours before her death.

She is also thought to have been drinking heavily, which may have been the trigger of a lethal concoction of drugs and alcohol.

The 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.

'None of us know who was with her into the early hours of Saturday. But getting out of it was clearly her main priority of the night.'

Another source from one Camden pub told the tabloid that they had also seen Amy buying cocaine from a well known dealer in the area.

Meanwhile, friends of the star told the Sunday Mirror that they believe she died from a 'bad' ecstasy pill mixed with a large amount of alcohol.

Winehouse also suffered from emphysema, which is a disease of the lungs that causes shortness of breath.

One friend told the newspaper: 'It was an ecstasy overdose. She could do cocaine until the cows come home. But this was obviously a dodgy pill.'

A post-mortem is being carried out today to reveal the exact cause of death.

But the troubled singer was found dead yesterday - of a suspected drug overdose at her London home.

The 27-year-old star, who had fought a long and well-publicised battle with drink and drug addiction, was pronounced dead after police were called to her £2.5 million three-storey home in North London.

After word spread of her tragic death, fans and her friends paid tribute to the singer by creating a shrine outside her home.

Pictures of Amy, alcohol, cigarettes, a guitar, flowers, candles and letters were laid outside her North London flat in her memory.

Never forgotten: A fan lays another bunch of flowers down in front of Amy's flat in Camden, alongside a picture of her with a note saying RIP Never Forgotten

London. Flowers and Tributes are left outside Amy Winehouse's home this morning after the singer died yesterday of a suspected drug overdose. 24/07/2011 Stephanie Schaerer 00447878466804

Pieces of artwork had also been laid down, including a striking photo of Winehouse posing in a bar, and a picture by artist Mysterious Al, showing Winehouse's face with monochrome cartoon eyes and a white streak in her trademark beehive hair.

Many notes were also left, one reading 'Too fragile, too beautiful, too big a talent for this world', and another which said: 'To an exquisite singer with a beautiful voice'.

Fans of the singer also gathered at her favourite haunt The Hawley Arms in Camden last night after hearing the news.

Amy had been photographed numerous times pouring pints to customers at the pub and candles were lit there as a tribute to the star.

The pub’s owner told the Independent on Sunday: ‘She was a special person with a good soul and this should not have happened. We will sorely miss her.’

While Amy's management Metropolis Music released a statement today saying: 'We are trying to come to terms with the death of a dear friend and colleague, the most amazing artist and talent.

'We will always remember Amy as a vibrant, funny, caring young woman who made everyone around her feel welcome. We have lost a very special person, part of our family.'

Camden tribute: Flowers were hung through a fence in Camden Square alongside bottles of alcohol and wine glasses

Artwork: A picture by artist Mysterious Al, showing Winehouse's face with monochrome cartoon eyes and a white streak in her trademark beehive hair was left with candles

Neighbour John Lea, 30, said he had last seen her around two weeks ago, looking 'normal'.

He said: 'I'd see her occasionally, wandering around. She didn't go out much really.

I didn't hear the noises on Friday night, although I was in. I didn't realise anything had happened until the ambulances and police turned up, and I saw two women outside who were very, very upset.'

Another neighbour and fan, who did not want to be named, said she had seen her near the Hawley Arms pub around six months ago looking 'happy and healthy'.

She said: 'It's sad to hear she's passed away. People just saw her as part of the community here, especially young people. It's nice to see that they have come here (to the singer's home).'

Her untimely death follows a long list of musicians who have all died at the age of 27, known as the 27 Club. They include rock legends Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, Kurt Cobain and Rolling Stone Brian Jones.

Amy was said to be devastated and ‘inconsolable’ after being dumped by her on-off boyfriend Reg Traviss, 34, just before she checked herself into The Priory rehabilitation clinic last month.

Traviss, who had previously turned down a marriage proposal from the star, was desperate to help Amy turn her life around, say friends, but when he realised she could not beat her demons he ended the relationship.

Last night, as Winehouse's body was taken to a local mortuary, her heartbroken mother Janis admitted she believed her daughter's death had been 'only a matter of time' when they met just 24 hours before she died.

'She seemed out of it. But her passing so suddenly still hasn't hit me,' she said.

Young fans: Two young girls are photographed by journalists leaving a tribute for Amy Winehouse outside her flat

In loving memory: Pictures of Amy, a guitar, flowers, candles and letters were laid outside her North London flat as a tribute to the star

Instead, she said, she preferred clinging for comfort to Amy's own parting words at the end of an enjoyable day they had spent together on Friday.

As mother and daughter kissed on the doorstep Amy told her, 'I love you, Mum'.

'They are the words I will always treasure and always remember Amy by', she said.

Last night Amy’s father Mitch - who had predicted she would die if she failed to quit drink and drugs - said he was devastated but has vowed ‘not to crack up for Amy’s sake’.

The cabbie-turned-singer was on a jazz tour in New York when he heard the news. He said: ‘I’m coming home. I have to be with Amy. I can’t crack up for her sake. My family need me.’

Amy had recently completed her third album but the release date was delayed by Island Records when she went into rehab.

She bought her five-bedroom Camden home in 2009 but only moved in this May after spending £200,000 installing a recording studio and gym.

As the investigation to establish the cause of her death began, three people were seen outside the house, which is in one of London’s most expensive streets. They were Mr Traviss, her bodyguard – known only as Neville – and former Big Brother contestant Aisleyne Horgan-Wallace, 32, a long time friend of the singer, who looked distraught.

A Scotland Yard spokesman said: ‘Inquiries continue into the circumstances of the death, which at this stage is being treated as unexplained. We do have people we’re speaking to but nobody has been arrested.’

A source said: ‘A number of people were helping police with their inquiries but we are still trying to establish who was with her when she died. It’s fair to say these people are central to police enquiries in piecing together what happened before she died.’

Another police source said that the death was being treated as ‘drink and drugs-related’. A post-mortem is expected to be carried out tomorrow.

A Metropolitan Police spokesperson said in a press conference yesterday evening that no cause of death had yet been confirmed.

Broken: Winehouse's close friend Aisleyne Horgan-Wallace was seen struggling to control her emotions as she learned of the singer's passing

Upset: The former Big Brother contestant kneels on the floor as she cries over the loss of her friend

He said: 'I am aware of reports of a suspected drugs overdose, but I would like to re-emphasise that no post-mortem has yet taken place and it would be inappropriate to speculate on the cause of death.

'The death of any person is a sad time of friends and family especially for someone known nationally and internationally like Amy Winehouse. My sympathy extends not only to her family but also to her millions of fans across the world.'

A statement from Winehouse's U.S. record label read: 'We are deeply saddened at the sudden loss of such a gifted musician, artist and performer.

'Our prayers go out to Amy's family, friends and fans at this difficult time.'

And a spokesman for the late singer said: 'Everyone involved with Amy is shocked and devastated. Our thoughts are with her family and friends. The family will issue a statement when ready.'

The scene: Amy was pronounced dead yesterday afternoon after emergency services arrived at her house in north London

Tragic: Winehouse's body is seen being removed from her home

Drama: Members of the press and local residents watch as Winehouse's body is taken to the van

A section of the road where the singer lived remained cordoned off last night. Journalists, local residents and fans gathered at the police tapes, while forensic officers were seen going in and out of the building.

One neighbour, who did not want to be named, said she saw the grief-stricken Traviss, on the ground outside the house.

Amy became a household name in 2006 after the multi-million sales of her five-time Grammy Award-winning album Back To Black, which chronicled her troubled love affair with her former husband Blake Fielder-Civil.

The pair married in Miami in May 2007 but divorced two years later after they both battled drink and drug addictions.

It is also alleged former music video producer Fielder-Civil was the one who introduced the Back to Black star to heroin and crack cocaine.

Amy's father Mitch previously spoke out about how his daughter stayed away from drugs prior to meeting her ex-husband.

In an interview last year he said: 'He's not entirely responsible, she's got to take a portion of the responsibility, but it's clear, it really kicked off when they got together.'

Despite her personal problems the star amassed a £10 million fortune and her album, with hits including Rehab, also helped her find success in America. But she struggled to deal with her success.

On Thursday, she made a surprise return to performing at the Roundhouse in Camden, North London, supporting her goddaughter Dionne Bromfield in an iTunes Festival concert. But fan Simon Grabiner, 19, said she came on stage and ‘stumbled around’ as if she was drunk or under the influence of drugs.

Mr Grabiner, from Potters Bar, Hertfordshire, said: ‘Everyone cheered as they saw her come on, and everyone thought she was going to perform. But she just walked around the stage as if she was drunk or something.

Inconsolable: Amy Winehouse, who died yesterday, was said to be distraught about her split from film director Reg Traviss

Last public appearance: Amy joined goddaughter Dionne Bromfield on stage during the iTunes festival on Wednesday night

Healthy: Amy was spotted out in London looking healthier earlier this month

‘Her legs seemed to turn to jelly. She gave Dionne a hug, and told everyone to buy her album. Then she just walked off.’

It followed a shambolic performance in Belgrade, Serbia, last month where Amy was booed off stage which led to the cancellation of her European tour.

Yesterday morning a message on her official website said she would be withdrawing from all forthcoming performances.

It read: ‘Amy Winehouse is withdrawing from all scheduled performances. Everyone involved wishes to do everything they can to help her return to her best and she will be given as long as it takes for this to happen.’

Last night Sir Elton John called her ‘a seminal artist’, adding: ‘She was one of the greatest artists this country has ever produced.’

Mail on Sunday columnist and CNN presenter Piers Morgan wrote on Twitter: ‘Such desperately sad news. Supreme natural talent, terrible self-destructive addictive personality.’

Lily Allen tweeted: ‘It’s just beyond sad, there’s nothing else to say. She was such a lost soul, may she rest in peace.’

Singer and actress Kelly Osbourne wrote: ‘I can’t even breath right now I’m crying so hard I just lost one of my best friends. I love you for ever Amy and will never forget the real you!’

TV presenter Peaches Geldof, the television presenter simply wrote ‘RIP Amy Winehouse’. Emma Bunton said: ‘Such sad news about Amy Winehouse. My thoughts are with her family.’

Sarah Brown, the wife of the former Prime Minister Gordon Brown wrote: ‘Sad sad news of Amy Winehouse. Great talent, extraordinary voice and tragic death. Condolences to her family.’

Rest in peace: A signed guitar and a picture of Amy are among items left outside her house

Mourning: Floral tributes are left outside Amy's house as news breaks of her death

Heartfelt: One note from a local resident states how much the singer will be missed in her local community

Sally Bercow, the wife of the Speaker of the House of Commons wrote: ‘Proper upset by Amy Winehouse death. Such a talent lost.’

Radio DJ Fearne Cotton said: ‘Amy was a special girl. The saddest news.’

And referring to the age at which Amy had died, singer Billy Bragg ent a tweet saying: 'It's not the age that Hendrix, Jones, Joplin, Cobain and Amy have in common - it's drug abuse, sadly #27club.'

Singer and presenter Myleene Klass wrote: ‘OMG. Amy Winehouse. Exceptional talent and really nice lady. RIP.’

Family: Amy with her father Mitch, to whom she was incredibly close, and her mother Janis

Shambolic: Amy was booed off stage during a shambolic performance in Belgrade in June

Sara Cox tweeted: ‘Oh no. Was hoping it wasn’t true. RIP Amy. Just such a massive waste. Our thoughts are with her family.’

Winehouse had been working on her long-awaited new album, the follow-up to her 2006 breakthrough multi-million selling Back To Black, for the past three years.

The singer was born Amy Jade Winehouse on 14th September 1983 in Southgate, London.
Winehouse has had a troubled life which has included various stints in rehab for drug and alcohol addiction.

The singer is thought to have been to rehab four times.

In an interview in 2008, her mother Janis said she would be unsurprised if her daughter died before her time.

She said: 'I've known for a long time that my daughter has problems.

'But seeing it on screen rammed it home. I realise my daughter could be dead within the year. We're watching her kill herself, slowly.

'I've already come to terms with her dead. I've steeled myself to ask her what ground she wants to be buried in, which cemetery.

'Because the drugs will get her if she stays on this road.

'I look at Heath Ledger and Britney. She's on their path. It's like watching a car crash - this person throwing all these gifts away.'

In addition, there was a website set up called When Will Amy Winehouse Die?, with visitors asked to guess the date of death with the chance of winning an iPod Touch.

In an interview last October with Harper's Bazaar magazine, Amy was asked if she was happy.

She replied: 'I don't know what you mean. I've got a very nice boyfriend. He's very good to me.'

And, asked if she had any unfulfilled ambitions, Winehouse replied: 'Nope! If I died tomorrow, I would be a happy girl.'

It had seemed director Traviss had helped Winehouse turn her life around. And father Mitch also gave the new man his seal of approval.

Former love: Amy with her ex-husband Blake Fielder-Civil

Troubled: Amy battled drink and drug addictions during her short life

In an interview with STV's The Hour programme, he said: 'I'm happy she's got a new boyfriend. I'm happy that she's moving on with her life.'

He said Traviss was a 'very nice, normal bloke'. The pair split in January this year but quickly rekindled their relationship.

In March, Traviss said: 'We've been together nearly a year now and we're very happy. Amy's doing well, she's fine. She's healthy and happy.'

Weight worries: Amy also caused concern with her shrinking frame, and looked gaunt back in 2008 (right)

Winehouse had a hugely successful musical career with the release of her debut album Frank in 2003, and the record considered her breakthrough album - Back To Black in 2006.

The singer featured on the Sunday Times Rich List earlier this year with an estimated net worth of around £6million.

During her career, Winehouse won awards including five Grammy Awards, a Q Music Award for Best Album for Back To Black and a World Music Award in 2008 for World's Best Selling Pop/Rock Female Artist.


The singer's tragic death at the age of 27 puts her in a pantheon of famous musicians who have all died at the same age.

The 27 Club consists of some of the brightest musical talents the world has known but whose lives were cut short at the age of 27.

Club members: Kurt Cobain, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Jim Morrison are among those who died at the age of 27

They also include Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain, charismatic Doors star Jim Morrison and guitar genius Jimi Hendrix, founding member of the Rolling Stones Brian Jones, singer Janis Joplin, Hole bassist Kristen Pfaff, American blues singer Robert Johnson and Manic Street Preachers guitarist Richey Edwards, who vanished in 1995 and was presumed dead at the age of 27.

The causes of death vary with each of them, with drug overdoses, suicides and murder depriving the world of some of its finest musical talents.

The one thing they have in common is how death at a young age has resulted in their memory being romanticised to the extent they have become even more famous in death than in their lifetime.

Success: Amy performed via video link at the Grammy Awards in 2008 after winning five awards



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