UPDATE: Amy Winehouse died as the result of accidental alcohol poisoning, a British coroner ruled Wednesday.
The coroner’s official verdict was that of "death by misadventure" but, as the Washington Post explains, that’s "simply a legal way of saying that Winehouse’s death was the result of voluntary actions on her part, and that no criminal act was committed."
The singer was found dead in bed at her London home earlier this summer. An initial autopsy proved inconclusive, although it found no traces of illegal drugs in her system.
The Associated Press reports that a pathologist told inquest into Winehouse’s death that the singer had consumed a “very large quantity of alcohol” and that the level in her blood was more than five times the legal limit for driving. A police officer who was called after a security guard found Winehouse said that empty vodka bottles were scattered around her bedroom.
UPDATE Tuesday, Aug. 23: The toxicology results are in and Amy Winehouse's family says that the tests found that "no illegal substances" were in the singer's system at the time of her death last month.
"Results indicate that alcohol was present but it cannot be determined as yet if it played a role in her death," the family said in a written statement, citing test results provided to them by authorities.
Winehouse died Saturday, July 23, at the age of 27.
UPDATE Wednesday, July 27 at 10:28 a.m.: One more follow-up note from Amy Winehouse's funeral Tuesday. Her father, Mitch, announced that he plans to create the Amy Winehouse Foundation to provide support for substance abusers.
"In this country, if you cannot afford a private rehabilitation clinic, there is a two-year waiting list for help," he said, the Daily Mail reports. "With the help of Keith Vaz MP, we are trying to change that."
Mitch Winehouse also addressed his daughter's long-running alcohol and drug problems, maintaining that she had managed to quit taking drugs.
"Three years ago, Amy conquered her drug dependency, the doctors said it was impossible but she really did it," he said at the funeral. "She was trying hard to deal with her drinking and had just completed three weeks of abstinence. She said, 'Dad I've had enough, I can't stand the look on your and the family's faces anymore.' "
UPDATE Tuesday, July 26, at 10:56 p.m.: Family and friends of Amy Winehouse gathered at a north London cemetery Tuesday for the funeral of the talented but troubled singer.
Winehouse's producer Mark Ronson and singer Kelly Osbourne were among the 100 or so mourners who attended the traditional Jewish funeral, Reuters reports.
A family spokesman said that Carole King's "So Far Away" was played at the conclusion of the service. Winehouse's father, Mitch, reportedly closed the service by saying: "Good night my angel, sleep tight; Mummy and Daddy love you ever so much."
UPDATE Monday, July 25, at 1:31 p.m.: Police said Monday that the recently completed autopsy on Amy Winehouse has failed to establish what killed the singer.
British police say that further toxicology tests will be needed to determine the cause of death, the AP reports. Results of those test aren't expected for another two to four weeks.
UPDATE Monday at 10:53 a.m.: The official results from Amy Winehouse's autopsy aren't expected to be released until Tuesday at the earliest, but police investigating the singer's death say that they found no suspicious circumstances at the north London home where her body was found.
The Associated Press reports that an official with coroner's office preforming the autopsy told a British court Monday that "the scene was investigated by police and determined non-suspicious."
Update Sunday, July 24: Amy Winehouse's mother Janice told British tabloid the Sunday Mirror that when she saw her daughter the day before her death the performer seemed "out of it" according to the Associated Press. She is also quoted saying it seemed only a matter of time before her daughter died of addiction-related problems. Authorities say a post-mortem report, which may give hints on the reason for Winehouse's death, won't be released until at least Monday or Tuesday.
Meanwhile fellow celebrities have spoken up on the singer's behalf. Actor and comedian Russell Brand, who is outspoken about his own struggles with substance abuse, wrote a blog post on his website calling for people to consider addiction a deadly disease.
"When I first met her around Camden she was just some twit in a pink satin jacket shuffling round bars with mutual friends," wrote Brand, who long after their first meeting said he realized Winehouse was actually a serious talent. "She wasn't just some hapless wannabe, yet another pissed up nit who was never gonna make it, nor was she even a ten-a-penny-chanteuse enjoying her fifteen minutes. She was a fucking genius."
Singer MIA has also posted a track in memory of Winehouse, titled "27."
Original post Saturday, July 23:: Amy Winehouse, the big-haired and big-voiced singer whose substantial talent was rivaled only by her struggles with addiction, was found dead Saturday at a Camden Square home in northern London, according to the Associated Press. The cause of death was unknown.
Police confirmed the identity of the 27-year-old singer, who rose to fame with a powerful musical cocktail of jazz, soul, and pop influences set behind a unique alto voice that balanced sensuality with danger.
Born to a taxi driver and pharmacist in 1983, Winehouse quickly displayed musical talent and attended performing arts schools growing up. A 2003 album, “Frank,” brought her into the limelight in Britain, but it wasn’t until the release of “Back to Black” in 2006 that she became an international artist and celebrity.
Recorded with the help of Brooklyn retro soul label Daptone Records and a host of producers and musicians on both sides of the pond, “Back to Black” was hailed by critics as a near-perfect record, mixing modern lyrical turns and hip-hop references with retro soul and pop arranging. But the album’s dark subject matter, most obviously delivered in Grammy-winning hit “Rehab,” revealed a struggle with addiction that would eventually eclipse Winehouse’s musical notoriety.
“I didn’t go out looking to be famous,” Winehouse told the Associated Press in 2006. “I’m just a musician.”
But several years of visits to rehab clinics, performances under the influence, and resulting coverage in British tabloids made Winehouse appear more of a spectacle than a musician in the media. The singer canceled a European tour in June after being booed offstage during a terrible performance in Serbian capital Belgrade.
Winehouse joins a number of other famous musicians to die at the age of 27: Kurt Cobain, Jimi Hendrix, and Janis Joplin passed at the same age. Her passing represents a loss of a talent that, had she beaten back her demons, could have offered much more to the world of music.