Private funeral held for Amy Winehouse
Tuesday 26 July 2011
The grief-stricken father of singer Amy Winehouse told her to "sleep tight" today as her family and friends said their last goodbyes.
In a heartfelt eulogy, Mitch Winehouse told mourners his daughter had "conquered" her drug addiction, was "trying hard to deal with her drinking", and was happier than she had been for a long time.
The Grammy-award winning singer, who had battled drink and drug problems throughout her career, was found dead at her home in Camden on Saturday.
The funeral service at Edgwarebury Cemetery in north London ended to the strains of her favourite song, Carole King's So Far Away.
Mr Winehouse said his daughter had recently told him: "Dad I've had enough, I can't stand the look on your and the family's faces anymore."
He also revealed plans to set up a foundation in his daughter's name to help people struggling with addiction.
He added: "Knowing she wasn't depressed, knowing she passed away, knowing she passed away happy, it makes us all feel better."
His eulogy ended with the words: "Goodnight, my angel, sleep tight. Mummy and Daddy love you ever so much."
Among the guests at the service, which included prayers in English and Hebrew, were stylist Alex Foden, who has been credited with creating Winehouse's trademark beehive hairdo, producer Mark Ronson and singer Kelly Osbourne.
Winehouse's band-mates, Zalon and Heshima Thompson, were among the select group included in the private ceremony which, according to Jewish law, had to take place as soon as possible after the star's death.
A spokesman for the family said: "Mitch was funny, he told some great stories from childhood about how headstrong she was, and clearly the family and friends recognised the stories and laughed along.
"He stressed so many times she was happier now than she had ever been and he spoke about her boyfriend and paid tribute to a lot of people in her life."
After the service, which was led by Rabbi Frank Hellner, Winehouse's body was taken to Golders Green Crematorium.
The family will hold a two-day Shiva - a traditional period of mourning in the Jewish faith - after the service.
Alfie Ezekiel, a friend of Amy's father, said: "Mitch gave a very good eulogy and he managed to get through it very well, considering.
"He said everything. I don't want to go into detail but his last words were 'Goodnight, my sweetheart'."
He said the service - during which Mr Winehouse was the only family member to speak - was "joyful" and "celebrated" the 27-year-old singer's life.
"It was very moving," he added.
The 55-year-old, from Loughton, Essex, said between 300 and 400 mourners attended the service.
Some guests appeared to be fighting back tears as they walked away hand in hand, or with their heads bowed.
One mourner, who did not want to give her name, said the ceremony had been "wonderful" but was unable to say more.
Describing Mr Winehouse's eulogy, another added: "It was emotional. He said that she would be carried in his heart.
"They were in contact three times a day, always, wherever she was.
"It's a complex situation but he is supported by his community. It's this extraordinary diaspora of people from north London who all knew Amy from when she was born."
And he said music would help the family through the "difficult times".
Winehouse's closest relatives and friends, including her mother Janis, brother Alex and her boyfriend Reg Traviss, then travelled to the crematorium where her grandmother was cremated.
The funeral comes after police revealed they will have to wait up to four weeks for the results of toxicology tests to establish her cause of death.
A post-mortem examination has proved inconclusive and an inquest has been opened and adjourned with no cause of death given.
Because of Winehouse's battles with drink and drugs, news of her death was quickly followed by suggestions it could be related to one or the other.
The troubled artist had cancelled all tour dates and engagements last month after a series of erratic public appearances that saw her booed during a shambolic performance in Serbia.
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