Tearful fans pay homage to Winehouse

For devotees at the singer's home, the circumstances of her death were a salutary lesson. By Rob Sharp and Katie Binns

The tributes laid along the police cordon outside her house included offerings of vodka, wine, cigarettes and a broken guitar. "I didn't sleep last night," wailed Matthew Rile, 32, an unemployed man from Deptford with a large Amy Winehouse tattoo on his calf.

A day after the singer's sudden death at the age of 27, large crowds remained outside her house – a mixture of friends, passers-by, devoted fans who had travelled from around the country and as far away as Turkey, and a smattering of tourists.

"I am not a fan – I'm more of a cultural-sociological tourist," said Jennifer White, 31, visiting from Brighton. "I am here for the spectacle of it all. It's obscene but it's what we do, isn't it? I am sure she will be remembered as a mythical genius that we were deprived of too soon."

In recent months Winehouse's public appearances, in which she was clearly struggling with her addictions, have been greeted with boos, but yesterday, fans struggled to hold back tears. Pamela Mackay, 28, a student from Tunbridge Wells, said: "I have come to London today with my husband to pay my respects. Her music touched me. She was fragile and that was reflected in her lyrics. She showed her insecurities and I really identified with her because of that."

Brandon Haywald, 16, from London, broke down as he spoke of the singer's death. "I can't believe it," he said. "I was 12 when I went to see her live – it was the first gig I ever went to.

"This has destroyed me, killed me. I am grieving. I couldn't sleep last night. Her contribution to music was amazing. She had her demons and now she is gone. What kills me the most is the music we will never hear."

There were heartfelt tributes from around the world of music: recognition of a unique songwriting and singing talent that had offered much more than the five Grammys and two albums she delivered; and acknowledgement of how she inspired so many young female British artists.

The platitudes, at the scene and on rolling news, also ran thick; the supposed inevitability of her demise at a young age, her tortured soul, how she had joined the tragic "27 club" – the list of noted musicians who have died at that age: Kurt Cobain, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Brian Jones...

As her records re-entered the charts and began to rise, several friends and health experts spoke out against the idea that Winehouse had been destined to die young, despite her myriad health problems.

The actor and broadcaster Russell Brand urged drug addicts to seek help. He said: "Now Amy Winehouse is dead, like many others whose unnecessary deaths have been retrospectively romanticised at 27 years old."

Professor David Nutt, the former chairman of the government's Advisory Committee on the Misuse of Drugs, said: "The stress of being that famous must be remarkable. Many people in their mid-20s begin to pull themselves together and get out of drug-use. For others, 10 years of hammering their heart takes its toll."

He added: "The media like to jump on the back of celebrities, especially those with a large following who like to take drugs. Maybe we should have a more balanced view towards our entertainers."

Caroline Stadler, from Vienna, said: "I thought I would show my 12-year-old-daughter that drink and drugs is not the way to go."

Arts and Entertainment

Film Leonardo DiCaprio hunts Tom Hardy

Arts and Entertainment
And now for something completely different: the ‘Sin City’ episode of ‘Casualty’
TV
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

    US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

    Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
    VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

    'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

    VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
    Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

    Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

    Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
    The male menopause and intimations of mortality

    Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

    So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
    Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

    'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

    Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
    Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

    Bettany Hughes interview

    The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
    Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

    Art of the state

    Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
    Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

    Vegetarian food gets a makeover

    Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
    The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

    The haunting of Shirley Jackson

    Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
    Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

    Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

    These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
    Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

    Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

    A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
    Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

    Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

    Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
    HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

    The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

    Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
    Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

    'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

    Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
    Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

    The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

    Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen