Winehouse family visits tributes before post-mortem

25th July 2011, Comments 0 comments

Amy Winehouse's parents visited the tributes laid by fans to the British soul singer as they awaited a post-mortem on Monday which should determine how the 27-year-old died.

Taxi driver Mitch Winehouse and his wife Janis went to see the growing collection of flowers, messages, candles, as well as beer cans and vodka bottles, placed outside their daughter's home in Camden Square, north London.

The singer's family said they had been left "bereft" by her death on Saturday, which remains unexplained until the results of the post-mortem examination.

Mitch Winehouse, who flew back from New York after hearing of his daughter's death, could barely speak as he was consoled by fans and well-wishers outside her home.

"Thank you for coming. This means so much to my family," he said, his voice cracking with emotion.

Winehouse was particularly close to her father, a jazz aficionado, who inspired her love of music by singing to her when she was a child.

"You people in the street, I can't tell you what this means to us. It really is making this a lot easier for us," he said.

"Amy was about one thing and that was love. Her whole life was devoted to her family and her friends.

"We're devastated and I'm speechless."

The singer's mother was in tears when she looked at the tributes and took pictures of them on her mobile phone.

Police said the post-mortem would be conducted Monday at the nearby St Pancras Mortuary, with the formal inquest to open and adjourn later at St Pancras Coroner's Court.

Inquests in England establish the identity of the deceased, the place, time and cause of death. Toxicology tests can take weeks.

With her sultry vocals and trademark beehive hairstyle, Winehouse was considered one of the finest British female singers for years, but her drink and drug addictions often overshadowed her talent.

Her 2003 debut album "Frank" was a big hit in Britain, but her second album "Back to Black", released in 2006, contained her biggest-selling single "Rehab" and propelled her to international success, landing her five Grammy awards.

Sales of Winehouse's records have surged since her death, with "Back to Black" re-entering the charts at 59 on Sunday, the Official Charts Company said.

"Already the popularity of Amy's music with the British public is being demonstrated, with sales of her albums rocketing by 37 times over the past 24 hours," said the company's director, Martin Talbot.

Winehouse often laid bare her demons in her lyrics, but they increasingly took over, and she had to scrap a European comeback tour after stumbling through the opening performance in Belgrade on June 18.

Media reports Monday said that with her health frail, her doctor had paid a routine check-up visit on Friday evening and left with no concerns.

Winehouse had spoken to her security guard at around 10:00 am Saturday, some six hours before she was found dead by ambulance staff, the BBC and The Sun newspaper reported.

"Amy was on her own at home apart from a security guard who we had appointed to help look after her over the past couple of years," Winehouse's spokesman Chris Goodman told The Sun.

"She was in her bedroom after saying she wanted to sleep and when he went to wake her he found she wasn't breathing.

"He called the emergency services straight away. He was very shocked.

"At this stage nobody knows how she died. She died alone in bed."

London Ambulance said that emergency services were called at 3:54 pm, and within minutes medics found the singer dead.

© 2011 AFP

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