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Britain's "Rehab" singer Amy Winehouse dies aged 27

Amy Winehouse, one of the most talented singers of her generation whose hit song "Rehab" summed up her...

British singer Amy Winehouse performs at the 2008 Glastonbury Festival. Picture: AFP

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Amy Winehouse, one of the most talented singers of her generation whose hit

song "Rehab" summed up her struggles with addiction, died in London

on Saturday at the age of 27.

The Grammy winner, famed for her black

beehive hair, soulful voice and erratic behaviour on and off stage, was found

dead at her new home in Camden a month after a

shambolic performance in Serbia

forced her to cancel her entire European tour.

Police were called to the address at around

1500 GMT and nearly five hours later the body was removed for a post mortem

after it appeared she had lost her battle with drink and drugs.

"Inquiries continue into the circumstances

of the death," said police superintendent Raj Kohli. "At this early

stage it is being treated as unexplained and there have been no arrests in

connection with the incident."

He said reports that Winehouse had died of a

suspected drugs overdose were speculation at this stage.

Family members had long warned that

Winehouse's lifestyle, which saw her in and out of rehab and blighted her

career as a live and recording artist, could be her downfall.

Her last filmed performance was in Serbia in June,

when Winehouse was jeered by the crowd as she struggled to perform her songs

and stay upright. On some tunes, the audience did most of the singing.

The gig, posted on the YouTube video sharing

site, prompted her management to cancel all scheduled performances and give the

performer as long as it took to recover.

Winehouse's record label Universal said in a

statement: "We are deeply saddened at the sudden loss of such a gifted

musician, artist and performer. Our prayers go out to Amy's family, friends and

fans at this difficult time."

Around 50 shocked fans and onlookers as well

as camera crews and photographers gathered behind police tape blocking off the

leafy street where Winehouse had just moved into a new house.

A few left flowers, candles and a teddy bear.

One note of condolence read: "Beautiful Amy, night night, sleep

tight."

"BACK TO BLACK"

The British singer was discovered by soul

singer Tyler James at the age of 16 and in 2003 her debut album

"Frank" was released, to general acclaim.

Her second album "Back to Black"

was released in October 2006 and reached the No. 1 spot in Britain and

earned her five Grammy awards, pop music's equivalent of the Oscars.

The album produced a string of memorable

tunes, including "You Know I'm No Good," "Love Is a Losing

Game" and "Rehab," which contained the line: "They tried to

make me go to rehab. I said 'no, no, no.'"

Born on September 14, 1983, to a Jewish

family with a history of jazz musicians, Winehouse's personal life has filled Britain's

tabloid newspapers.

Winehouse was photographed wandering the

streets of London

barefoot and in only a bra and jeans in 2007 looking confused, the same year

she married Blake Fielder-Civil who spent time in prison for beating up a pub

landlord. They divorced in 2009.

In 2008, the singer's father Mitch said she

had developed the lung condition emphysema and warned it could kill her if she

continued to smoke drugs.

Mitch, a taxi driver who launched his own

musical career on the back of his daughter's success, was in New York when the news broke. British media

said he was on his way back to London.

Tributes poured in for an artist whose

personal troubles stole the headlines in recent years and thwarted plans for an

eagerly-anticipated third album.

Soccer star and celebrity David Beckham told

Sky News: "It's very sad, she was such a talented girl, and a girl with

such a huge future. Our hearts go out to her family, her loved ones."

Sarah Brown, wife of former prime minister

Gordon Brown, tweeted: "sad sad news of Amy Winehouse - great talent,

extraordinary voice, and tragic death, condolences to her family."

Kelly Osbourne, a singer and television

personality, also took to the micro blogging site, writing: "i cant even

breath right now im crying so hard i just lost 1 of my best friends. i love you

forever Amy & will never forget the real you!"

"RICH, SOULFUL VOICE"

The Recording

Academy in the United States

praised the singer, who brought elements of jazz and Motown back into the

musical mainstream.

"Her rich, soulful and unique voice reflected

her honest songwriting and earned her a devoted fan following, critical

acclaim, and the genuine respect and admiration of her musical peers,"

said its president Neil Portnow.

Broadcaster and radio DJ Paul Gambaccini

said Winehouse's early death was sadly no surprise.

"We have been dreading this news for

some time, hoping against hope that she would turn herself around, but she

showed no evidence of being able to do so," he told BBC TV.

"She just could not control herself.

It's tragic because both (her) albums were superb. We have 40 years of Frank

Sinatra records, it turns out we only have two Amy Winehouse records."

Daniel Rossellat, founder of the Paleo

Festival in Nyon, Switzerland, where Winehouse had

been due to perform before withdrawing from the tour, likened her to Janis

Joplin, another gifted singer who died at the age of 27.

"It is the tragic end to a wonderful

voice, similar to Janis Joplin both in destiny and in voice," he told Swiss

television.

Singer Billy Bragg wrote on his Twitter page

that Winehouse joined not only Joplin but also Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison and

Kurt Cobain -- who all died at the same age.

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