Russell Brand's Moving Tribute to Amy Winehouse, Dead at 27

 British soul singer Amy Winehouse, recipient of five Grammy Awards for vintage soul songs like "Rehab" and "Back to Black," was found dead in her London home on Saturday. She was 27.

The cause of death is pending an autopsy and toxicity report, which has begun today in London, but her struggle with drugs and alcohol has been reported to the point of spectacle. She was released from rehab about a month ago, and a doctor who checked her vitals on Friday night found her to be in good condition. She was discovered at 4 PM GMT by a bodyguard, and she had likely been deceased for hours. ABC:

"She was in her bedroom after saying she wanted to sleep, and when he went to wake her he found she wasn't breathing," [UK rep Chris] Goodman told MTV News. "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."

Russell Brand, the British actor, was good friends with Winehouse, and a former heroin addict himself. He wrote a tribute to her on his blog, later reprinted in the Guardian:

Now Amy Winehouse is dead, like many others whose unnecessary deaths have been retrospectively romanticised, at 27 years old. Whether this tragedy was preventable or not is now irrelevant. It is not preventable today. We have lost a beautiful and talented woman to this disease. Not all addicts have Amy's incredible talent. Or Kurt's or Jimi's or Janis's. Some people just get the affliction. All we can do is adapt the way we view this condition, not as a crime or a romantic affectation but as a disease that will kill.

We need to review the way society treats addicts, not as criminals but as sick people in need of care. We need to look at the way our government funds rehabilitation. It is cheaper to rehabilitate an addict than to send them to prison, so criminalisation doesn't even make economic sense. Not all of us know someone with the incredible talent that Amy had but we all know drunks and junkies and they all need help and the help is out there. All they have to do is pick up the phone and make the call. Or not. Either way, there will be a phone call.



AlterNet / By Julianne Escobedo Shepherd

Posted at July 25, 2011, 6:48am

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