singer was only 27 years old. And another musical icon with squandered talent
who let all her fans down is gone.
By Fred Mills
In the end, it will probably be seen as much of a foregone
conclusion as the sorry, drug-addled deaths of Johnny Thunders or Kurt Cobain –
but it’s no less tragic. British retro-soul singer and tabloid/TMZ fixture Amy
Winehouse has passed away at the age of 27, from causes not yet officially
disclosed. At present, foul play is not suspected.
According to reports from the BBC, Associated Press and New York Times she was found earlier
today, July 23, in her north London
home. The AP notes that “the London Ambulance Service
said Winehouse had died before ambulance crews arrived at the house in leafy Camden Square.”
Winehouse was most recently in the
news when a comeback tour was canceled immediately following a June performance
characterized by observers as “incoherent” and “disastrous” and led to her being booed off the stage. It was the sad
culmination of a steady artistic and personal decline that came in the wake of
the massive international success of (and multiple Grammy wins for) her 2006
album Back to Black and the song “Rehab” with the last
five years marked by an ongoing struggle with drugs (in particular, crack
cocaine) and alcohol, frequent arrests and recurring stints in rehab. Her
2007-09 marriage to industry scenester Blake Fielder-Civil was no less
tumultuous, and despite occasional mini-comebacks that included a performance
in 2008 at Nelson Mandela’s 90th birthday, she was never able to
fully overcome her self-destructive tendencies.
The family apparently plans to
issue a statement in the near future. Meanwhile, internet ghouls have eagerly been posting “updates” (as it were), including this grainy photo of the Winehouse body being removed from the house and placed in the back of an ambulance. And the usual chorus of
celebrities and fellow musicians have taken to Twitter and Facebook expressing
their sadness, from Demi Moore and celeb chef Jamie Oliver to Tony Bennett and
Ronnie Wood. And there’s no question that Winehouse was not only a huge singing
talent, but one who her friends and associates cared enough about to try to
help her get back on the right track.
The saddest part of all, however,
is that in all likelihood Winehouse will be remembered as much for the drug
arrests, intoxicated public appearances and general chaos in her life as for
the inspiring music she made during her lifetime. And that once again, a musical
icon who thousands and probably millions of fans looked up to wound up
squandering her talent and, in the process, letting all those fans down.