The Tragic Truth About Amy Winehouse's Last Days

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Originally appeared on E! Online

Amy Winehouse may have considered herself less of a star and more of a smoldering candle, casting a dim glow over the booze-soaked patrons in a smoky basement club, adding to the romantic danger of it all.

But not many flames burned as brightly as hers before the troubles she commemorated in song extinguished her light on July 23, 2011, when she was only 27 years old.

Amy sounded born to belt torch songs, her lived-in voice dripping with experience that belied her youth, musicality from another era and a seemingly bottomless well of despair.

Hence, her story has been told time and again, including in the Oscar-winning 2015 documentary Amy, both a celebration of her talent and a heartbreaking account of her downfall that was witnessed by so many—up close and from afar, through the enthusiastic media coverage of her self-destruction. (Winehouse's family participated but then distanced themselves from the film, calling it "misleading.")

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More recently, Back to Black, the Sam Taylor-Johnson-directed biopic starring Marisa Abela, was—despite topping the British box office for two straight weeks—ridiculed upon arrival by U.K. critics for sanding off some of the harsher edges of the singer's story and cutting certain people in her life a little too much slack.

Amy Winehouse, Lollapalooza 2007
Roger Kisby/Getty Images

Regarding criticism that the film leaves out pivotal low moments (such as Amy getting booed in Belgrade during what turned out to be her final concert) and that her dad Mitch Winehouse and ex-husband Blake Fielder-Civil (who said in 2013 he regretted introducing heroin into the singer's life) got a pass, screenwriter Matt Greenhalgh explained that they weren't out to relitigate the behavior of those who've already been so thoroughly judged.

"I didn't want to compound any problem on a father that had lost his daughter," he told Vanity Fair of his approach to Back to Black, which was to tell Amy's story using the loosely autobiographical songs from her smash-hit 2006 album of the same name as his guide.

Matt, who also wrote Sam's directorial debut, Nowhere Boy, about John Lennon's teenage years, added, "The toxicity that surrounded Amy was something that we were very much aware of, but we didn't want to replicate. Going down the dark path just wasn't for us."

He and Sam felt "it was very important that Amy was in charge of her own destiny," Matt said. "Even though we go to dark places, there was no point pummeling an audience with Belgrade and a side of Blake and Mitch."

And Sam has said she's proud of the film, critics be damned.

Back to Black, film, Marisa Abela, Amy Winehouse
Focus Features

"There was a lot of fear and anxiety and negativity around the movie," she told the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' A.Frame in May. "So, I felt like a lot of [the U.K. release in April] was me having to not be too defensive but try and state what my intentions were."

And the filmmaker knew what her intentions were not. "I felt like if I could do this in a way that didn't further victimize her but actually celebrated her, that it was worth doing," she said. "If I could make it in her perspective and through the lens of her and her music, then it could only go well. I'm sort of telling it the way that she is dictating, in a way."

The album Back to Black "is a story of her love and heartbreak," Sam explained. "Therefore, that told me the story I had to tell and all of the research was around there."

And Amy was a woman in love. Toxic, destructive love, but love all the same. The only thing she cared about more was music.

Amy Winehouse, Frank Album
Universal Republic

Her jazzy, soulful debut album, Frank, came out in October 2003 and was a critical and commercial smash in the U.K., where it was shortlisted for the Mercury Music Prize. She counted artists ranging from Sarah Vaughan and Thelonious Monk to the Beastie Boys and TLC as her inspirations.

Amy, then 20, and producer Salaam Remi shared an Ivor Novello Award, which honors composing and songwriting, for the single "Stronger Than Me." She was nominated for British Female Solo Artist and British Urban Act at the 2004 Brit Awards, and performed at the 2004 Glastonbury Festival.

Talking about the impact Carole King's Tapestry had on her, she told APTN in 2004, "I would be amazed and joyed if people could have that with my album… [I'm] more me with the music than I am on any TV thing or any radio thing—because it's me, it's my music. It's the only area of my life where I'm fully confident and fully embrace everything, you know what I mean."

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Barely out of her teens, there was also already a weariness to the artist that belied her age.

"The one thing that continues to interest me is human behavior and interaction between two people… even the relationship between me and inside me," Amy mused to APTN. "I mean, like, 'Mr. Magic,' which is about my substance abuse…That's not a good thing to say."

She continued to combine timeless angst with throwback style and her 2006 sophomore effort, Back to Black—buoyed by the mega-hit "Rehab"—made her a global sensation.

Amy Winehouse, Back To Black, Album Cover

Amy loved "the '60s thing," she told CNN in 2007, "because it's so naïve and innocent and dramatic, that mentality—but I love that boy with dirty hair who rides a motor bike, and even if he doesn't love me back I still lie in the road for… Very all or nothing, I like that. I like the mentality."

But while she remorselessly admitted to what ailed her in songs, she didn't intend for the endlessly ironic "Rehab," "Addicted," "Back to Black" or "You Know I'm No Good" to be cries for help.

How she was living the rest of her life was a cry for help. The music was salvation.

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"I don't write songs because I think it would be a cool idea or because I want to be seen or 'cause I want to be famous," Amy told E! News during a swing through Los Angeles in 2007. "I write songs about things I've got in my life, that, you know I have trouble with or trouble getting past... Yeah, I had a bad breakup and it was important to me to have something good come out of something bad."

She didn't think twice about admitting to her own bad decisions in her lyrics, noting, "I don't write a song and think, 'oh, a million people will hear this.' I write a song because I need to make sense of why I do certain things."

Amy Winehouse, 2007 Eurockeennes Music Festival

For instance, the song "Back to Black" detailed a devastatingly pragmatic realization that nothing good was on the horizon after her man had gone back to his ex.

"When it's finished you go back to what you know—except I wasn't working so I couldn't go and throw myself into work," she told CNN. "And when the guy I was seeing went back to his ex-girlfriend I didn't really—I didn't have anything to go back to, so I guess I went back to a very black few months, doing silly things as you do when you're 22 and in love."

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She continued, "I had about a year and a half off and I was drinking a lot—not anything terrible, I was just trying to forget about the fact that I had finished this relationship. And my management at the time thought I was, well, I wasn't working so I didn't see them a lot, they just kind of stepped in and thought they were being the good guys by just stepping in and strong-arming me into a rehabilitation center."

"But," she shrugged, "just didn't really need it."

Mark Ronson, who produced Back to Black with Salaam Remi, told Rolling Stone in 2007, "It's been so long since anybody in the pop world has come out and admitted their flaws, because everyone's trying so hard to project perfection. But Amy will say, like, 'Yeah, I got drunk and fell down. So what?' She's not into self-infatuation and she doesn't chase fame. She's lucky that she's that good, because she doesn't have to."

But that didn't stop fame from chasing her.

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"I just think the most unfortunate thing about it all is the way that the media spins things, like, 'Oh, here, we can learn from Amy's death.' I don't feel that Amy needed to learn any lessons," Lady Gaga said on The View about a week after Amy died. "I felt that the lesson was for the world to be kinder to the super-star. Everybody was so hard on her, and everything that I knew about her was she was the most lovely and nice and kind woman."

Nothing has come out over the years to alter that perception.

Amy Winehouse, 2007 Portrait

After researching the artist for Back to Black, Matt Greenhalgh told Focus Features, "Qualities like her honesty, her loyalty, and her kindness stood out even more."

But it was immediately apparent in the aftermath of her death that a vicious cycle had hastened the speed at which her life spun out of control once she was world famous.

"She feels deeply uncomfortable in the world of VIP celebrity," her manager Raye Cosbert told London's Sunday Times in July 2008, during a period when Amy was holed up inside her house and paparazzi were regularly camped outside. "It's unfortunate that you can't teach somebody how to deal with fame."

Moreover, he added, he knew plenty of male artists with substance abuse issues, but Amy was singled out because she's "a small-framed Jewish lady from north London."

At the same time, the increasingly troubling spectacle that appeared to be Amy trying to prove she didn't care what anybody thought—making it clear how bored she was with Bono, wandering around outside in her bra—turned into a show in itself.

Amy Winehouse, 2008 Grammys Video
Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

By the time "Rehab" was ubiquitous and she was nominated for six Grammy Awards in 2008 (Back to Black came out in October 2006, just missing the cut-off for the 2007 Grammys), her monstrous talent had long been overshadowed by reports of unstable behavior.

Amy really did go to rehab in January 2008, a couple weeks before the ceremony, after a video surfaced on The Sun's website in which she appeared to be smoking crack. She later told reporters she continued to do drugs the entire time she was in treatment.

And she infamously couldn't accept her five Grammys, including Best New Artist and Record and Song of the Year for "Rehab," or perform in person because the U.S. hadn't approved her visa in time. Her application was initially denied due to her ongoing, increasingly public (and international) drug troubles, such as an arrest for marijuana possession in Norway in October 2007.

Amy Winehouse, 2008 Grammys, Grammy Awards
Michael Caulfield/WireImage

Dolled up with her signature cat-eye liner and towering beehive, she ended up performing "Rehab"—every word oozing irony—and "You Know I'm No Good" live during the Grammys via satellite from a cabaret setting at Riverside Studios in London. She sang in front of a small but enthusiastic audience that included her parents, Mitch and Janis Winehouse.

In accepting Record of the Year for "Rehab," she memorably thanked her parents and "my Blake incarcerated."

Blake Fielder-Civil, then her husband of less than a year, was in jail at the time awaiting trial for his role in a 2006 bar fight. Since meeting at a bar in 2005, they had been off and on, with an off-period inspiring Back to Black.

Amy Winehouse, Blake Fielder-Civil, 2007 MTV Video Music Awards, VMAs
Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

"I had never felt the way I feel about him about anyone in my life," Amy told Rolling Stone soon after they tied the knot on May 18, 2007, in Miami. "It was very cathartic, because I felt terrible about the way we treated each other. I thought we'd never see each other again. He laughs about it now. He's like, 'What do you mean, you thought we'd never see each other again? We love each other. We've always loved each other.' But I don't think it's funny. I wanted to die."

It was as if the tattoo of Blake's name across her chest was there to keep her heart in place.

"We are so in love, we are a team. Blake, Blake, Blake, Blake, Blake, Blake…" she raved to a journalist in June 2008 while missing her locked-up man. She was getting in so much trouble, she insisted, because "my husband's away, I'm bored, I'm young. I felt like there was nothing to live for. It's just been a low ebb."

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For all her lovelorn declarations, Amy wasn't at her best around her spouse, their domestic disputes at times pouring over into the streets and becoming front-page tabloid news.

She also made her own headlines for fighting, punching a female fan in the face in 2006 after the woman suggested she shouldn't marry the former production assistant.

"It was a gig—and she was really rude," Amy told E! News in 2007. "And I'm not like that—I'm a violent drunk, very insecure as well. I'm very insecure and I've got a thing about bad manners."

Amy Winehouse, Blake Fielder-Civil

Calling her own behavior "disgusting," she added, "I haven't done anything like that in months and months and months and months...I just thought she was very rude. I saw sorry straightaway! Disgusting behavior, really," she again chided herself. "It's not excusable."

Catastrophe watch had already begun thanks to reports of Amy slurring (or sometimes seemingly forgetting) her lyrics onstage and appearing detached, if she showed up at all.

In December 2007, she was photographed wandering barefoot around her Camden Square neighborhood wearing only jeans and a bright-red bra.

Following her bittersweet triumph at the Grammys on Feb. 10, 2008, she was arrested that May for alleged drug possession and hospitalized in June after a fainting spell, during which she was treated for a chest infection.

Amy Winehouse
AP Photo/Edmond Terakopian

Mitch said his then-24-year-old daughter was experiencing the early stages of emphysema (later walked back to Amy being in danger of developing emphysema). She ended up in the hospital again in July after suffering a reaction to medication. Another video leaked, this one of her and a friend warbling a sing-song tune composed mainly of racial slurs.

"I guess I should apologize," she told a horde of paparazzi outside her door, according to a Rolling Stone account of a summer evening spent with Amy in her three-bedroom home. Asked what she planned to call her next album, she cheekily replied, "Black Don't Crack."

According to the article, Amy looked alarmingly thin. "I'm on a strict pizza diet. I'm on a strict put-weight-on diet," she said. "I love food. I'm just stressed out." Her arms were reportedly "spotted with cuts and scratches."

She had been approached about singing the theme song for the James Bond installment Quantum of Solace, but that fell through. Yet also in June 2008, she performed "Rehab" and "Valerie" without incident at a star-studded concert for Nelson Mandela's 90th birthday in Hyde Park.

The following month, London's Sunday Times inquired in a headline, "Can Amy Winehouse Be Saved?"

Amy Winehouse, 2007
Gus Stewart/Redferns

"Amy changed overnight after she met Blake," Nick Godwyn, her first manager, told the newspaper. "She just sounded completely different. Her personality became more distant. And it seemed to me like that was down to the drugs. When I met her she smoked weed but she thought the people who took class-A drugs were stupid. She used to laugh at them."

People, including her father, speculated that she almost preferred being miserable because it was essential to her creative process.

"It's a shame," Mitch, who lived with his daughter for a brief period to try to keep her on track after she got out of rehab in 2008, told the Sunday Times. "But that's the way she is. Amy can be creative when most other people would be checking into a hospice. When she can hardly stand up she's got her books in front of her, scribbling away."

"Whatever happens," he predicted, "we won't be where we are now in two years' time."

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When Blake got out of jail in November 2008, he promptly went to rehab and told the now-defunct News of the World that he had introduced Amy to crack and heroin (snorted, never injected) and was leaving her—for her own good.

"I have to let her go to save her life," he told the tabloid. "I am not abandoning her. I am doing this out of love." He also insisted he wasn't after her money.

But he also said years later that drugs weren't as much a hallmark of their relationship as they were painted to be.

"Out of maybe a six- or seven-year relationship that me and Amy had on and off, there was drug use for about four months together," he said in 2013 on ITV's Jeremy Kyle Show. "We used heroin together as addicts for like four months, then I went to jail. Then it got a lot worse while I was in jail and then when I came out of jail I was told that if I loved her I'd divorce her and set her free, and I did."

Toward the end of 2008, Winehouse was hospitalized again in London having suffered, according to her rep, another bad reaction to medication. (She reportedly overdosed on the drug meant to help her kick drugs.) At the same time, Blake was ordered back to jail after failing a drug test.

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Weeks later, in January 2009, Winehouse was photographed in St. Lucia frolicking with actor Josh Bowman. ("Yeah...I'm not really ready to talk about that," Bowman, who's been married to Emily VanCamp since 2018, told GQ in 2012.)

"I love it here and have never felt so happy," Winehouse told News of the World, per the Mail Online, from her tropical getaway. "In fact, I don't think I'm ever going home. Especially as I met Josh here. He couldn't be more different from my husband, which isn't a bad thing."

The singer also reportedly said about her soon-to-be-ex, "Almost every time I slept with him it was like I was dead."

After the photos were published, Blake started divorce proceedings, citing her adultery as his reason. Their split was finalized in July 2009, with documents showing that Winehouse had admitted to committing adultery in April 2008 and they hadn't lived together since.

"I don't think Amy realized we were divorced for months," Blake told The Sun in 2015. "The first time we spoke about it was when she wrote a song called 'Not a Penny,' about when she was speaking to Mitch after the divorce and she asked how much I had got and he told her, 'Not a penny.' She was thrilled because it proved to her that I wasn't after her cash."

Amy Winehouse, Mitch Winehouse, 2008 Grammy Awards
Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images for NARAS

He knew Amy didn't want a divorce, Blake said, "but I was so eager to get it over with and prove that I wasn't after her money, as her family kept saying, so I signed it."

Janis said on ITV's Lorraine in 2021 that she never actually met Blake during the two years her daughter was married to him. But she also said that she didn't want to speak ill of her onetime son-in-law.

"I know it was about love and I don't think you can judge when it comes to love, love does the walking and talking," she told Britain's OK! in 2021, per the Mail Online. "I believe the relationship between Amy and Blake was intimate and genuine. Their marriage was impulsive but it was still pure, it was obviously a complicated relationship but love was at the heart of it."

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Her 2009 started off promisingly enough with her trip to the Caribbean, some of which was chronicled in her friend Blake Wood's 2018 book Amy Winehouse, featuring never before seen photos of the late singer.

That March, however, she was charged with assault for allegedly smacking a fan who approached her to take a picture at a festival back in September 2008. That thwarted a trip to the U.S. to headline Coachella because she was denied a work visa due to her ongoing legal issues.

Amy Winehouse, Mitch Winehouse
Fred Duval/FilmMagic

In his 2012 book Amy, My Daughter, Mitch wrote that Amy called him on Jan. 1, 2010, and said she hadn't had a single drink on New Year's Eve. She was taking Librium, to help with withdrawal symptoms, and it made her tired.

Amy went to Jamaica in February 2010 to work on her third album with producer Salaam Remi, though she wasn't satisfied with her songs yet. That March she recorded a cover of "It's My Party" for Quincy Jones' Q Soul Bossa Nostra.

At the same time, she was in and out of the London Clinic that spring, reportedly to get a handle on her drinking.

Reg Traviss, Amy Winehouse
Yui Mok/PA Images via Getty Images

She also started dating director Reg Traviss, and they notably did not get into trouble together.

Mitch wrote in his book that Reg and Amy talked about getting married, speculating, "It might have saved her life."

But her drinking would never cease for more than a few weeks.

Tony Bennett, Amy Winehouse
Dave M. Benett/Getty Images

In May 2010, she was too drunk to make a meeting with her record label and she checked back into the London Clinic for a week. She went back in June. On June 20 she joined her dad (a cabdriver with life-long singing aspirations) onstage for three songs at Pizza on the Park.

She looked healthier than she had in years at Tony Bennett's show at London's Royal Albert Hall on July 1, 2010. She performed at the 100 Club a few nights later with Mark Ronson. She was working out and doing yoga.

By August, however, she was drinking heavily, Mitch recalled, but in September, she looked great. In October, she was back on the booze. That December, she pulled herself together and flew to Russia to perform at a private New Year's Eve party for a billionaire oligarch.

"This is the strongest Amy has felt in a very long time," a source told MTV UK. "She is determined to go down in history as a world-class performer, not someone who ruined a spectacular talent through drugs. The long road back starts in Moscow."

Mitch remembered writing in his diary, "There's a lot to look forward to in 2011."

Winehouse kicked off the year performing at the Summer Soul Festival in São Paolo, Brazil, her first full live show since 2008. (Her team reworked her set so that more Frank songs were interspersed amid the heartbreaking breakup songs from Back to Black.)

On Jan. 16, 2011, after her last of five shows in Brazil, she told her dad she hadn't had alcohol in more than two weeks. Not long after, once she was back in England, Blake Wood ("American Blake," Mitch called him) called Amy's dad to say he'd been Skyping with the singer and she'd had a seizure.

With Amy having no memory of it, Mitch took her to the hospital for observation.

One morning in February, he went to his daughter's house to find she'd already had multiple drinks that day. But still, he wrote, her bad days seemed to be growing fewer and further between.

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It was a bad day later that month when Amy was booed onstage in the United Arab Emirates. "Disappointed Dubai fans say no, no, no to rehab singer," read the Time Out Dubai headline.

In March 2011, she returned to the studio to cut a cover of "Body and Soul" for Tony Bennett's Duets II album, which turned out to be her last recording.

She went back to the hospital in April to be treated for detox complications and she finished the month trying to stick to her program. She was readmitted to the London Clinic on May 11, and her blood test showed high levels of potassium and glucose, which the doctor warned could lead to heart problems. She was back to drinking the daylight away on May 24.

Basically, this portion of Mitch's memoir reads like a hospital log, as compiled by a distressed father.

Amy Winehouse, final performance, June 18, 2011
Srdjan Stevanovic / Contributor/Getty Images

What turned out to be Amy's last live performance was in Belgrade, Serbia, on June 18, 2011. Despite having been largely clean for a couple weeks, she got drunk before heading out onstage for a reportedly agonizing show that lasted 15 minutes longer than her usual 75-minute set.

Her team canceled the rest of her scheduled gigs and she returned to London on June 22. After what happened in Belgrade, she again told her dad she "really, really" wanted to stop drinking.

As much as Mitch could tell, Amy abstained from alcohol for the rest of June and when he saw her on July 10 and July 14, she was sober and in good spirits.

On July 20, she went to the iTunes Festival at the Roundhouse in Camden to see her friend and protégée Dionne Bromfield, the first artist signed to Winehouse's Lioness label, sing. Amy ended up onstage dancing.

Months later, Mitch's manager told him that he'd seen Amy at the show, and she'd gone up to him, patted him on the stomach and said, "'Look after my dad.'"

Mitch wrote that he last saw his daughter on July 21, 2011. He was flying to New York the next day but she insisted he come over to look at some family photographs she'd unearthed.

Amy Winehouse, Camden House, Flowers
Paul Brown/REX/Shutterstock

"It was easy to be with her that day; she was a lot of fun," he recalled in Amy, My Daughter.

Janis and second husband Richard Collins (Mitch and Janis divorced when Amy was 9) saw Amy on July 22, as did Reg, and she seemed fine to them. That night she was "tipsy," her security guard Andrew Morris recalled, but she was singing and playing drums in her room.

When Andrew checked on her at 10 a.m. on July 23, she appeared to be sleeping. But five hours later, she hadn't moved.

The automatic assumption was that she had died of some sort of overdose.

Officially, she died of accidental alcohol poisoning, or "misadventure," as the coroner ruled at the inquest. Her blood-alcohol level was .416 (416 mg of alcohol per 100 ml of blood), with .35 considered a fatal level (.08 is considered too intoxicated to drive). One small and two large empty vodka bottles were found in her house.

"She chose her own path, we have suffered from the trolls and the damaging speculation—accusations that Mitch just wants to make money off of his daughter, that we killed her, that we could have done more—it's completely wrong," Janis reflected in OK! in 2021. "But addiction is a mental illness and that is the true villain in this story, I've studied addiction and I understand that now."

Reg took Amy's cat Katie home to live with him. "I can't describe what I am going through," he told The Sun at the time, "and I want to thank so much all of the people who have paid their respects and who are mourning the loss of Amy, such a beautiful, brilliant person and my dear love. I have lost my darling who I loved very much."

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"She did not want to die," her personal doctor, Dr. Christina Romete, who had treated her at the London Clinic, said at the inquest that October. "She was looking forward to the future."

The Winehouse family said in a statement, "We understand there was alcohol in her system when she passed away—it is likely a build-up of alcohol in her system over a number of days. The court heard that Amy was battling hard to conquer her problems with alcohol and it is a source of great pain to us that she could not win in time."

Before she was cremated, about 500 people attended a prayer service in the hall at Edgwarebury Jewish Cemetery, which ended with the playing of Carole King's "So Far Away."

Amy Winehouse shrine, Camden Square
Neil Mockford/Getty Images

Ex-husband Blake, who was sentenced in June 2011 to 32 months behind bars for burglary and possessing a fake firearm when Amy died, told Pigeons and Planes in 2016 that he was allowed to have a small prayer ceremony in the prison chapel.

More recently, he watched Back to Black and admittedly there were "difficult parts to process," but the film as a whole "was almost therapeutic in a way."

"There were some parts of it that enabled me to feel like I was seeing a more accurate representation of the relationship," the now 42-year-old father of two said on ITV's Good Morning Britain in April. "Not in a sense of being let off the hook or whitewashed...just in a sense that it wasn't all about addiction...There was addiction, but it was only an aspect."

Amy Winehouse, Lioness: Hidden Treasures Album
Island Records

"Body and Soul" was released Sept. 14, 2011, on what would have been Amy's 28th birthday. Lioness: Hidden Treasures, a compilation of unreleased tracks and demos, came out in December 2011. The following February, she was posthumously awarded the Grammy for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance with Tony. Another Grammy nomination came in 2013, Best Rap/Sung Collaboration, for Nas' "Cherry Wine," which was dedicated to Amy and featured her vocals.

She's been posthumously humanized more than most with the help of her family, and projects like Amy, BBC Two's Reclaiming Amy and, now, the based-on-a-true-story Back to Black.

"I don't need to convince people that they're actually watching Amy," Marisa Abele, who did her own singing for the role, told the New York Times. "I need to remind people of her soul."

Amy Winehouse,
Chris Christoforou/Redferns

The real Amy propagated her own myth of the tortured artist from the beginning. "If you're a musician and you have things you want to get out, you write music," she told The Guardian in 2006. "You don't want to be settled, because when you're settled you might as well call it a day."

It's impossible to know if she would have ever realized that the two didn't have to be mutually exclusive, that being "settled" didn't necessarily mean the creative well would run dry. In the meantime, she didn't suffer for her art so much as figure that, since she was suffering, she may as well make art.

And ultimately her death was an accident, albeit one that took on shades of the inevitable. The unhappy ending people expected is exactly what they got.

"I'm above it," she told E! News in 2007, referring to the increasingly loud outside noise about her non-musical exploits. "I really like my record, you know. I'm really proud of it. If 10 other people like it, I'm happy."

(E! and Focus Features are both members of the NBCUniversal family.)

(Originally published Sept. 14, 2018, at 3 a.m. PT)