As fans awaited autopsy results in the abrupt death of 27-year-old Amy Winehouse, reports emerged that the troubled singer was seen scoring drugs hours before her death.
The singer, who rocketed to fame with a song about resisting rehab, was found dead Saturday in her North London mansion, not long after she was reportedly spotted buying
Winehouse was found dead in her bed by a body guard assigned to watched after her, according to TMZ.
"She was in her bedroom after saying she wanted to sleep, and when he went to wake her he found she wasn't breathing," Chris Goodman, a friend and rep for Winehouse, told TMZ.
Goodman added: "He called the emergency services straight away. He was very shocked. At this stage no one knows how she died. She died alone in bed."
The Twitter tributes and sympathy poured in from celebrities such as Lady Gaga, Courtney Love and Russell Brand as the Grammy winner’s family released a statement, saying that they have been left “bereft by the loss of Amy, a wonderful daughter, sister, niece. She leaves a gaping hole in our lives.”
Her father, Mitch, who had predicted his daughter’s drug abuse would kill her, was in New York City when he heard the news, according to The Daily Mail. “I can’t crack up for her sake. My family need me,” so he was jetting back to England immediately, the paper reported.
Winehouse’s unexpected demise caused music aficionados to christen her the latest member of “The 27 Club,” joining other rock legends who also died at the age of 27, including Rolling Stone Brian Jones, and rockers Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin and Kurt Cobain.
Some New Yorkers were prompted to reflect on the difficulties they experienced trying to intervene with loved ones they believed to be on a similarly self-destructive path.
Lara Ruth, 31, from Union Square, noted that she had tried to tell a friend that she had concerns about her drinking, “but she brushed me off.” Eventually, her friend’s boyfriend threatened to leave her if she didn’t get help and she entered a hospital detox program.
“It’s so hard to understand why people do it,” Ruth, a social media manager, said about substance abuse. But when confronted with a loved one’s potentially deadly behavior, “you have the responsibility to bring it up. It’s part of being someone’s friend.”
That’s true, affirmed Deni Carise, the chief clinical officer of the Phoenix House Foundation. People who are concerned about a loved one’s substance abuse should definitely speak up to tell the relative or friend you believe “they’re on a path that is harmful to themselves and harmful to others,” but take care to ensure their message is delivered “out of love and caring – not in an accusatory way,” Carise counseled.
It’s more likely the user will “get angry,” Carise continued, but that’s okay. “You wouldn’t stand there and watch someone drag a knife up and down their arm,” nor should you tolerate substance abuse. If the person refuses help, she said, it’s permissible to cut off contact until they get it, promising to be supportive – and delivering on that promise - when they do.
If family members or friends decide to stage an intervention, it’s important “to have immediate access to a treatment facility,” added Carol Landau, clinical professor of psychology at the Alpert Medical School at Brown University.
Winehouse was reportedly checked in to rehab again last month, heartbroken after her boyfriend, Reg Traviss, dumped her because of her substance abuse issues.
Substance abuse often begins as depression, noted Landau, with users self-medicating to smother discomfiting feelings. But most professionals agree that the substance abuse must be dealt with first to interrupt the “vicious cycle,” Landau said.