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What really killed Amy Winehouse was the eating disorder bulimia, her brother Alex claims

The singer's elder brother says years of suffering from an eating disorder left Amy 'weaker and more susceptible'

The underlying cause of Amy Winehouse’s premature death at the age of 27 was the eating disorder bulimia, her brother has claimed.

The singer’s older brother Alex Winehouse, 33, said in an interview that years of suffering from bulimia left Amy “weaker and more susceptible” to the physical impact of her alcohol and drug addictions.

A coroner's verdict recorded that the "Rehab" singer died of “alcohol toxicity” after drinking too much.

“She would have died eventually, the way she was going," Alex told the Observer. "But what really killed her was the bulimia… Had she not had an eating disorder, she would have been physically stronger.”

Bulimia is an eating disorder characterised by episodes of binging followed by self-induced vomiting. Alex claims Amy was a sufferer from her late teens until her death at the age of 27.

“She suffered from bulimia very badly. That’s not, like, a revelation- you knew just by looking at her,” he said.

She was influenced, he said, by her peers, who were “all doing it”, at the age of 17. “They’d put loads of rich sauces on their food, scarf it down and throw it up. They stopped doing it, but Amy never really did,” he said.

Amy, who won five Grammy awards for her breakthrough album Back to Black, was found dead at her flat in Camden, north London, on 23 July 2011.

An inquest recorded a verdict of misadventure after finding that she had 416mg of alcohol per decilitre in her blood- more than five times the legal drink-drive limit.

Since her death, her father Mitch and her brother Alex have set up the Amy Winehouse Foundation, which works to prevent the effects of drug and alcohol misuse on young people.

An exhibition of family photographs and objects belonging to the singer has been put together by Mitch and Alex Winehouse at the Jewish Museum in London, opening next month.

Amy Winehouse: A Family Portrait opens at the Jewish Museum in London on 3 July