07-23-2011, 02:21 PM
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Amy Winehouse, the British singer who found worldwide fame with a smoky, hip-hop-inflected take on retro soul, yet became a tabloid fixture as her struggles with drugs and alcohol brought about a striking public career collapse, was found dead in her home in London on Saturday. She was 27.
The cause was not immediately known. The London police said that they had been called to an address in Camden Square in northern London on Saturday afternoon and found a 27-year-old woman, who had been pronounced dead at the scene. The police did not identify the body, but according to a report by The Associated Press, the London Ambulance Service said it was Ms. Winehouse.

The police said that they were investigating the circumstances of the death, but that “at this early stage it is being treated as unexplained.”

Ms. Winehouse’s American record label, Universal Republic, said in a statement: “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.”

Instantly recognizable from the heavy makeup and high beehive hairdo she borrowed from the Ronettes, Ms. Winehouse became one of the most acclaimed young singers of the 2000s, selling millions of albums, winning five Grammy Awards and kicking off the British trend of retro soul and R&B that continues today.

Yet from the moment she arrived on the international pop scene in 2007, Ms. Winehouse had an image that seemed almost defiantly self-destructive. In songs like “You Know I’m No Good,” she sang alcohol-soaked regrets of failed romances, and for many listeners the lyrics to the song “Rehab” — which won her three of the five Grammys she took in 2008 — crystallized her public persona. “They tried to make me go to rehab,” she sang, “I said, ‘No, no, no.’ ”

Those songs were from her second album, “Back in Black,” which was released in Britain in late 2006 and in the United States in 2007. Her first, “Frank,” had established her as a budding star in Britain. But “Back in Black,” recorded with the producers Mark Ronson and Salaam Remi, made her an international sensation, with a darkly stylish update on the sound of classic 1960s R&B that was admired by critics and the public alike.

Yet while “Rehab” was still climbing the charts Ms. Winehouse became the subject of lurid headlines for drug binges that left her hospitalized and forced her to cancel concert dates. Her appearance at the 2008 Grammys was uncertain because of visa troubles; in the end she performed from London via satellite. When she won record of the year, she thanked her husband at the time, Blake Fielder-Civil; they later divorced.

Amy Jade Winehouse was born on in Southgate, London, on Sept. 14, 1983. Her mother, Janis, was a pharmacist and her father, Mitch, was a cabdriver who nursed a love for music.

Ms. Winehouse had not released an album since “Back to Black,” but recently she appeared to be trying to revive her career. In a recent interview with The New York Times, Ms. Winehouse’s father — who released a jazz album this year — said that she had been in good health lately. But last month she canceled a European comeback tour after a disastrous performance in Belgrade in which she appeared too intoxicated to properly perform.
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  07-26-2011, 08:37 AM
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Although I'm from an older generation (born in the mid-fifties)and unfamiliar with Ms. Winehouse and her work, I'd still like to extend my condolences to her family, friends and fans. I'm sure she will be deeply missed. May her memory and music live on.
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