Paramedics discovered her at her north London home yesterday at around 4pm yesterday, but were unable to help. Her death follows years of widely-publicised addiction to drugs and alcohol, which saw Winehouse fade from the height of her musical success and become more talked-about for her physical decline. On Saturday night, Winehouse's father, Mitch, a former London black cab driver who launched his own jazz career following his daughter's success, was believed to be travelling back to London from New York. The singer Michelle Gayle, a friend of the family, said that Mr Winehouse was "devastated". Last night, friends of the star paid tribute to her extraordinary talent. The singer and actress Kelly Osbourne said: "I can't even breath right now I'm crying so hard, I just lost one of my best friends. I love you forever Amy and will never forget the real you!" LeAnn Rimes, the country singer, said "RIP Amy Winehouse. So sad to see such a talent gone and her life end in tragedy." Winehouse became as famous for her erratic behaviour and bee-hive hairdo as her unique, soulful voice and accomplished songwriting, which resulted in some of the most famous and recognisable hits in recent years, including Rehab, a song about her refusal to attend a rehablitation clinic, and Love is a Losing Game. During one infamous performance at the Eden Project in Cornwall in 2007, she forgot her lyrics, spat at her fans and hit herself in the face with her microphone. Another performance at Glastonbury in 2008 saw the singer stumble about on the stage, mumbling incoherently while the crowd heckled. In the years that followed, numerous comebacks were promised, but none materialised, with countless concerts called off at the last-minute due to her fragile health. Only last month, her management were forced to cancel all forthcoming tour dates and engagements following a series of erratic public appearances and a disastrous performance in Belgrade, Serbia, which will now go down as her final concert. The singer made her last impromptu public appearance on Wednesday night, when she joined her goddaughter, the singer Dionne Bromfield on stage at The Roundhouse in Camden, dancing with Bromfield and encouraging the audience to buy her album before stumbling off the stage. It had once all seemed so promising for Winehouse. After winning a scholarship to the Sylvia Young Theatre School at the age of 12, she began to write songs of her own and sing at weekends with jazz bands and the National Youth Orchestra, performing her songs at family parties and barmitzvahs. A friend in the music industry heard the young Winehouse at one such event and decided to give her studio time to record some demos, which led to her signing a record deal with Island Records at the age of 18. The following year, in 2003, the 19-year-old Winehouse released her debut album, Frank, which was critically acclaimed and nominated for the prestigious Mercury Music Prize. Her follow up three year's later, Back to Black, became one of the biggest-selling records in 2006, and made history when it entered the American album charts at number seven, the highest position ever for a British female artist. Featuring the songs Back to Black, Tears Dry on Their Own and You Know I'm No Good, it sold more than three million copies and and led to five Grammy Awards, making Winehouse the first British singer to win five Grammy's in one evening. She also won the coveted Ivor Novello songwriting award three times, and was widely seen as a forerunner for the recent wave of hugely successful female singers writing about their experiences of heartache and relationships, including Adele and Duffy. Winehouse's life began to spiral out of control in 2005 when she met Blake Fielder-Civil, a music video assistant, in a north London pub. Although Fielder-Civil was already in a relationship, the pair began an affair, and soon afterwards, Winehouse became notorious for her drunken public appearances and erratic behaviour, running offstage during one performance that year to vomit, and increasingly slurring her words during interviews and onstage. But the fiery relationship with Fielder-Civil appeared to fuel her songwriting skills, and though the couple split briefly in 2006 when he went back to an old girlfriend, whereupon Winehouse sunk into depression, during that period, she wrote Back to Black, an album of heartbroken songs which saw her record sales soar. Dramatic weight loss followed, prompting speculation of eating disorders and heroin addiction, and in April 2007, she and Fielder-Civil rekindled their relationship and married the following month in a £60 ceremony in Miami, Florida, celebrating with burgers and chips. Soon afterwards came the couple's notorious outing in Soho, where they were photographed lashing out at each other, him bleeding from his face and Winehouse with bloodied feet. Later that year, Fielder-Civil was sent to prison on remand on charges of attempting to pervert the course of justice after allegedly trying to bribe a man to drop assault charges against him. Although friends and parents hoped that separation from Fielder-Civil would result in a clean slate for Winehouse, it never happened. She relocated to the Caribbean island of St Lucia in an attempt to "get clean", but was soon seen drinking heavily and behaving erratically, appearing in a bikini on the beach with a large, unexplained burn on her leg. A recent breast enlargement and yet more erratic public appearances continued to fuel speculation that all was not well in Winehouse's world, despite repeated claims by her management that she would soon be back on track and that she was writing new music. Winehouse once said: "I've always been a little homemaker. I know I'm talented, but I wasn't put here to sing. I was put here to be a wife and a mum and to look after my family. I love what I do, but it's not where it begins and ends." Tragically, both her musical and personal ambitions will never be truly fufilled.
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