Private funeral planned for Amy Winehouse

July 26, 2011 8:14 am


Cigarettes and alcohol are left in tribute to troubled singer Amy Winehouse/ AFP
LONDON, Jul 26 – The family and close friends of British soul singer Amy Winehouse were Tuesday set to hold a private funeral after a post-mortem failed to establish a cause of the 27-year-old’s death.

A family spokesman said the ceremony for the troubled diva, who was found dead at her London home on Saturday, will be confined to family and close friends. He did not disclose the location or the time.

A post-mortem examination took place on Monday and an inquest was formally opened, allowing the body to be released to her family for her funeral. Jewish funerals traditionally take place as soon as possible following a death.

The singer’s parents Mitch and Janis Winehouse formally identified her remains before going to see the shrine of flowers, messages, candles, beer cans and vodka bottles outside her home in Camden Square, north London.

Taxi driver Mitch said they were “devastated” by Winehouse’s death, which is not being treated as suspicious. The cause of death remains unknown.

With her sultry vocals and trademark beehive hairstyle, Winehouse was considered one of the finest British female singers in years, but she had struggled with drink and drug addictions.

The post-mortem was conducted at the St Pancras Mortuary, with the formal inquest opened and adjourned to October 26 in a two-minute hearing at St Pancras Coroner’s Court.

Inquests in England establish the identity of the deceased, and the place, time and cause of death.

Coroner’s officer Sharon Duff gave Winehouse’s full name, age, date and place of birth, divorcee status, address and occupation. She said her parents had identified the body and tissue samples had been taken.

“She was certified dead at her home by a paramedic and a doctor on July 23,” Duff said.

“A section 20 post-mortem has been carried out and histology and toxicology taken to determine the cause of death.

“It (the post-mortem) did not establish a formal cause of death,” added a police statement.

The scene was investigated by police and determined non-suspicious.

Police said the toxicology results were not expected for two to four weeks.

Mitch Winehouse, who flew back from New York after hearing of his daughter’s death, could barely speak as he was consoled by fans and well-wishers.

“Thank you for coming. This means so much to my family,” he said, his voice cracking with emotion.

Winehouse was particularly close to her father, a jazz aficionado, who inspired her love of music by singing to her when she was a child.

“You people in the street, I can’t tell you what this means to us. It really is making this a lot easier for us,” he said.

“Amy was about one thing and that was love. Her whole life was devoted to her family and her friends.

“We’re devastated and I’m speechless.”

The singer’s mother was in tears when she looked at the tributes and took pictures of them on her mobile phone.

Winehouse won acclaim with her 2003 debut album “Frank” but her second and last album, “Back to Black”, released in 2006, contained her biggest-selling single “Rehab” and propelled her to international success, landing her five Grammy awards.

She married Blake Fielder-Civil in Miami in May 2007 but they had a tempestuous relationship. He spent part of their marriage behind bars for attacking a pub landlord and a subsequent attempt to cover it up.

They divorced in July 2009.

Winehouse often laid bare her demons in her lyrics, but they increasingly took over, and she had to scrap a European comeback tour after stumbling through the opening performance in Belgrade on June 18.

Media reports Monday said that with her health frail, her doctor had paid a routine check-up visit on Friday evening and left with no concerns.

Winehouse had spoken to her security guard at around 10:00 am Saturday, when she was in her bedroom saying she wanted to sleep, her spokesman Chris Goodman told The Sun newspaper. He found her dead six hours later.

The singer is expected to top the British charts when they come out on Sunday following a huge surge in demand.


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