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How Did Amy Winehouse Die?

Amy Winehouse was born on the 14th of September 1983, and I consider her one of the greatest Jazz and Soul singers to ever live. Her singing ability was unworldly. And I don’t think we will ever see the likes of her again for a long time to come. Her death at just 27 years old was a tragedy.

So, how did Amy Winehouse die?

To fully answer that, you must look at a lot more than merely Amy Winehouse’s official cause of death. It requires going back a lot further to a much earlier point in her life. Let’s start with her school years.

How Did Amy Winehouse Die

Drug Addiction and Rehab

Amy Winehouse was no stranger to drugs and alcohol. She started drinking at just 12 years old, and the use of drugs was not far behind. In her early teens, she was already using a dangerous amount of alcohol and marijuana. The body can only take so much, and in Amy’s case, she pushes closer to the limits each day.

Before she became famous… 

Amy was already struggling with a series of physical and mental health problems. Firstly, she was diagnosed with manic depression. On its own, this is a serious and debilitating condition. One that is hard to treat and even hard to control without the full cooperation of the patient. 

Unfortunately, manic depression also goes a long way toward explaining her attraction to drugs. That’s because many people afflicted with the disease are heavy drug users.

Additionally, Amy also had secondary progressive multiple sclerosis (MS)… 

This is a degenerative disease that affects the nerves and interferes with the body in numerous ways. Amy is known to have been a heavy marijuana user before she turned to harder drugs. And this could, at least in her younger years, have been an attempt to control her symptoms.

Finally, she was also racked with anxiety which only intensified as she became famous. This is another reason that she turned to not only alcohol and marijuana but then to ecstasy and cocaine. Later, she turned to regularly using crack cocaine. However, this then caused respiration and breathing difficulties towards the end of her life.

At the height of her fame…

Amy was a mess. And any sane, non-drug-using individual could see that she needed help. Her sensible friends, what few she had left, implored her to enter rehab. In 2006 her management pleaded and pleaded, but it was her father, Mitch Winehouse, in a U-turn from his previous stance, who persuaded her it wasn’t necessary. Father of the Year right there – NOT!

Ironically, it was around this time that Amy Winehouse’s most famous song, “Rehab,” was released. That song was about those close to her trying to persuade her to seek help. Sadly, she chose to ignore them. So, an early opportunity to get her the help she so desperately needed was lost. The song “Rehab” references her dad saying that she was fine and didn’t need any help.

But the warning signs were obvious…

And these were only confirmed when she was forced to be admitted to the hospital with emphysema. This is a disease that is characterized by breathing problems. In Amy’s case, it was brought on by regularly smoking crack cocaine. 

At this point in her life, she was just 24 years old, and this kind of condition is pretty much unheard of in someone so young. It is usually the preserve of hardened chain smokers over a prolonged period. Despite Amy thinking she was invincible, she was killing herself before everyone’s eyes, and fast.

The first time she finally entered rehabilitation was in January 2008… 

It is reported that she was in an awful physical state when she was admitted. So much so that it necessitated a visit to a general hospital to be treated for severe dehydration. Apparently, she hated her stay, but Amy stayed in long enough to convince her mother that she was clean again.

From a professional standpoint, it also gave her the chance to get clean. That way, she could be ready to receive any of the Grammy Awards Amy Winehouse was nominated for. As things transpired, the following month, she won no less than five Grammys. 

Ironically, one of the Grammy’s was for her song, “Rehab.” She was still not fit enough to attend the 50th Anniversary Grammy Award show in Los Angeles. But, she was fit enough to accept the award at a separate location in London via a satellite hookup.



Sadly, Amy chose poorly when it came to boyfriends and husbands. In 2003, she got together with Blake Fielder-Civil, who would prove to be an instrumental player in her path to destruction. Before this point, Amy was a heavy drinker and a user of marijuana. However, she had not been involved in hard drugs.

Blake introduced her to crack cocaine and heroin. Given her already fragile mental state, it was never going to end well for her. Blake was not only a heavy user himself but was also essentially unstable. He was always in and out of trouble or in fights. So, just about the worst thing she needed in her life.

Compare Amy’s first TV performance of “Stronger Than Me” in 2003 to her performance of “You Know I’m No Good” a few years later in London. You can see the extent of the damage she had done to herself, with the help of Blake, in just a few years.

She continued with this chaotic relationship until 2005, when they briefly split… 

Then, she took up with a chef and musician whom she met in a local pub where he was performing. An orthodox Jew and someone who was much more stable, he was a much better bet for Amy. But, unfortunately, after just a year, she slipped back to Blake.

An on-off relationship followed, which eventually led to their marrying in 2007. In the time they were together before Blake was imprisoned for assault in mid-2008, they continued beating the crap out of each other and taking drugs.

When 2009 came into sight…

Amy temporarily came to her senses and started going out with a “normal” person, Josh Bowman. She finally declared that she was done with drugs. Likewise, she accurately reflected on the fact that her previous relationship with Blake was solely based on drug taking.

They divorced in August 2009. After her split with Josh Bowman, she went on to date director Reg Traviss. She stayed with him until her death later that year. At this point, she was attempting to quit drugs and alcohol. 

Unfortunately, she was already too deeply addicted. And Amy Winehouse’s mental problems made it a constant battle to get clean. She underwent treatment for alcohol withdrawal. But, despite a series of psychiatric assessments, she refused any kind of therapy that could have potentially saved her life.

Final Days

A month before Amy Winehouse died, she made a comeback with a tour of Serbia in June 2011. But, sadly, this went badly. She made a shambolic appearance where she appeared disorientated and forgot the words. As a result, she ended up being booed off the stage.

Her last ever performance of “Back to Black,” on June the 18th, was as bad as it gets. It should have sent the alarm bells ringing loud and clear. However, like for much of Amy Winehouse’s life, there was just no one there to catch her.

Possibly, as a result of the awful tour, she got clean and stopped drinking for three weeks. That maybe doesn’t sound much, but for Amy, it was undoubtedly an achievement. Unfortunately, three weeks was all she managed. She started drinking again on July 20th.

How Did Amy Winehouse Die? – The Day of Her Death

The Day of Her Death

On the 23rd of July 2011, just three days after she fell off the wagon, she was found dead, in bed, in her home by her bodyguard. He discovered her after checking on her when he realized that she was sleeping unusually late. Emergency services were called, but there was nothing they could do. She was pronounced dead at the scene and then taken to the hospital, where a full autopsy was later performed.

The autopsy revealed that she had a blood alcohol level of more than 0.4% which is equivalent to being more than five times over the legal limit in the UK. These findings were backed up by the fact that three bottles of vodka had been found at the scene of her death.

Rather than alcohol poisoning…

The official report cites her death as due to misadventure. However, there was a lot more to this than just getting drunk. If we want to know how Amy Winehouse died, then we must consider her long history of mental illness, and drug and alcohol addiction. It should also be considered that her body was also ravaged by her apparent bulimia. As if the poor girl didn’t have enough to contend with.

Amy Winehouse’s death was tragic and robbed a young woman of a wonderful life. It felt so preventable, and you can only wonder why there was no one there to help. The sad passing of Amy Winehouse, at just 27 years old, also puts her in the infamous “27 Club“, along with music legends Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, and many more. What a waste.

Interested In Learning About How Famous Musicians Died?

If so, check out our thoughts on How Did Kurt Cobain DieHow Did Aaliyah DieHow Did Prince DieHow Did Avicii Die, and How Did Bob Marley Die for more information on celebrity deaths.

How Did Amy Winehouse Die? – Final Thoughts

I love Amy Winehouse and her music. She was a special talent, and her passing at such a young age feels desperately sad. I know I will never forget her music, and I hope other people will enjoy her music for a long time to come too. If we can now fully understand the reasons behind Amy Winehouse’s death, then, hopefully, it might be possible to prevent similar tragedies in the future. 

Until next time, take care, and enjoy the music.

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