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Troubled singer Amy Winehouse dies

Troubled singer Amy Winehouse dies

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By JILL LAWLESS

Associated Press

LONDON -- Few artists summed up their own career in a single song -- a single line -- as well as Amy Winehouse.

"They tried to make me go to rehab," she sang on her world-conquering 2006 single, Rehab. "I said 'No, no no."'

Occasionally, she said yes, but to no avail: repeated stints in hospitals and clinics couldn't stop alcohol and drugs scuttling the career of a singer whose distinctive voice, rich mix of influences and heart-on-her sleeve sensibility seemed to promise great things.

In her short lifetime, Winehouse too often made headlines because of drug and alcohol abuse, eating disorders, destructive relationships and abortive performances. But it's her small but powerful body of recorded music that will be her legacy.

The singer was found dead Saturday by ambulance crews called to her home in north London's Camden area, a youth-culture mecca known for its music scene, its pubs -- and the availability of illegal drugs.

The London Ambulance Service said Winehouse had died before crews arrived at the house in leafy Camden Square. The cause of death was not immediately known.

The singer's body was taken from her home by private ambulance to a London mortuary where post-mortem examinations were to be carried out either Sunday or Monday. Police said in a statement no arrests have been made in connection with her death.

It was not a complete surprise, but the news was still a huge shock for millions around the world. The size of Winehouse's appeal was reflected in the extraordinary range of people paying tribute as they heard the news, from Demi Moore -- who tweeted "Truly sad news ... May her troubled soul find peace" -- to chef Jamie Oliver, who wrote "such a waste, raw talent" on the social networking site.

She shot to fame with the album Back to Black, whose blend of jazz, soul, rock and classic pop was a global hit. It won five Grammys and made Winehouse -- with her black beehive hairdo and old-fashioned sailor tattoos -- one of music's most recognizable stars.

"I didn't go out looking to be famous," Winehouse told The Associated Press when the album was released. "I'm just a musician."

Last month, Winehouse canceled her European comeback tour after she swayed and slurred her way through barely recognizable songs in her first show in the Serbian capital of Belgrade. Booed and jeered off stage, she flew home and her management said she would take time off to recover.

Released in Britain in the fall of 2006, Back to Black brought Winehouse global fame. Working with producers Mark Ronson and Salaam Remi and soul-funk group the Dap-Kings, Winehouse fused soul, jazz, doo-wop and, above all, a love of the girl-groups of the early 1960s with lyrical tales of romantic obsession and emotional excess.

Increasingly, her personal life began to overshadow her career.

In May 2007 in Miami, she married music industry hanger-on Blake Fielder-Civil, but the honeymoon was brief. That November, Fielder-Civil was arrested for an attack on a pub manager the year before. They divorced in 2009.

In June 2008 and again in April 2010, she was taken to the hospital and treated for injuries after fainting and falling at home.

Her father said she had developed the lung disease emphysema from smoking cigarettes and crack, although her spokeswoman later said Winehouse only had "early signs of what could lead to emphysema."

Winehouse is survived by her parents. Her father, Mitch, who released a jazz album of his own, was in New York when he heard the news of her death and immediately flew back.

Despite the years of frustration and disappointment, Winehouse retained a huge body of fans, all hoping she would find her feet again. Some gathered outside her home after her death, laying flowers, comforting each other and taking in the police tape and ambulance that marked the end of her journey.

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