Can we please have a moment of silence for Amy Winehouse, the gifted retro-soul singer who was found dead on Saturday (July 23) in her London apartment of apparent drug overdose. Although an autopsy is being performed, police, at this time, is treating the matter surrounding the singer's death as "unexplained."
Winehouse's untimely death at the young age of 27 puts her on the distinguished list of deceased musicians who unexpectedly died at the same age, which includes rock guitarist Jimi Hendrix, Nirvana's Kurt Cobain and singer Janis Joplin.
"Our family has been left bereft by the loss of Amy, a wonderful daughter, sister, niece," said Amy's father Mitch, mother Janis and brother via a press release. "She leaves a gaping hole in our lives. We are coming together to remember her and we would appreciate some privacy and space at this terrible time."
On Saturday, as the news of Ms. Winehouse’s death spread, many celebrities took to Twitter to express their condolences. Artists such as Sean Kingston, Nicki Minaj, Big Boi and Rihanna were shocked to learned that Winehouse had died (photo, below).
DJ/Musician Mark Ronson, who produced Winehouse's hits "Rehab," "You Know I'm No Good" and "Love Is a Losing Game" from her breakthrough 2006 Grammy-winning album, Back to Black, was shattered by the loss. "She was my musical soulmate and like a sister to me," he said. "This is one of the saddest days of my life."
Veteran crooner Tony Bennett, who recorded the classic pop standard "Body And Soul" with Winehouse at Abbey Road Studios in London this past March for his upcoming duets album, also eulogized the late singer. In a statement he said:
"Amy Winehouse was an artist of immense proportions and I am deeply saddened to learn of her tragic passing. She was an extraordinary musician with a rare intuition as a vocalist and I am truly devastated that her exceptional talent has come to such an early end. She was a lovely and intelligent person and when we recorded together she gave a soulful and extraordinary performance. I was honored to have the opportunity to sing with her."
Born in a small town in Southgate, London, Amy Jade Winehouse started performing and singing at a very early age. When she was 10 years old, she and a friend formed a rap group called Sweet 'n' Sour after being inspired by the music of the female rap group Salt-N-Pepa. In her teen years, Winehouse developed her vocal abilities at the BRIT School for Performing Arts and Technology, whose alumni included today's pop songbirds Adele and Lily Allen.
Most fans are familiar with Winehouse's first album, Frank, a collection of self-portrait songs about love and life, which won her the prestigious Ivor Novello Award. But it was her second LP Back to Black that Winehouse achieved International stardom. Musically helmed by producers Ronson and Salaam Remi, and the Brooklyn retro-soul band the Dap-Kings, the hip-hop-infused soul album was hailed by critics and fans alike. The album sold 2.7 million copies in the United States and helped garnered Winehouse five Grammys awards, including Song of the Year for "Rehab."
Despite her fame and notoriety, Winehouse's troubled life was constant fodder for the tabloids. Her public battles with drugs (she was addicted to heroin and crack cocaine) and alcohol led to many arrests for the young singer. Winehouse's marriage to husband Blake Fielder-Civil, whom she married in 2007, also crumbled due to his addiction to heroin. After years of marital turmoil, the couple divorced in September 2009.
Sadly, Winehouse hasn't made an album since Back to Black, although she had been recording new material with Ronson. Her most recent comeback failed miserably. Last June, Winehouse canceled a European tour after a terrible performance in Belgrade where she appeared to be disoriented.
Winehouse made her final on-stage appearance on July 20 when she danced alongside her goddaughter Dionne Bromfield, who is an artist on Winehouse's Lioness label, during her rendition of The Shirelle's "Mama Said." A YouTube video of the performance showed a healthy-looking Winehouse in good spirits.
"Forever in my heart....love you always #amy ♥," Bromfield tweeted.
Rest in Peace, Amy. Now Fade to Black . . .