Private funeral to be held for Winehouse

British singer Amy Winehouse’s funeral will take place on Tuesday and will be attended only by her family and close friends, her spokesperson said on Monday.

A post-mortem on the Back to Black singer, who died at the weekend, failed to determine how she died and more toxicology tests are being carried out, with the results expected in two to four weeks, police said.

The autopsy was carried out after an inquest opened and adjourned on the 27-year-old’s death which police are so far describing as “unexplained”.

Winehouse, who fought drug and alcohol addictions, was found dead at her north London home on Saturday afternoon.

As sales of her music soared and speculation swirled about the release of a possible posthumous album, her father Mitch flew in from New York and visited a shrine of flowers, gifts and cards outside the house.

Surrounded by television crews and well-wishers, he read the dozens of condolence messages and walked along banks of teddy bears, flowers—and the occasional bottle of vodka—left by fans of the troubled singer.

“Thank you for coming,” he said. “It means so much to me and my family.”

A sombre mood hung over Camden Square, where Winehouse lived, as a constant stream of fans arrived to lay flowers and leave messages for the singer among flickering candles left outside her house on Monday.

Some well-wishers were unable to hold back tears as they looked in near silence at fans’ tributes.

Messages for the singer were left both by locals, including one saying she is “going to be thoroughly missed in Camden”, and by fans from as far afield as Colombia, Mexico, Italy and Spain.

Winehouse’s battle with alcohol and drugs was well-documented, most famously in one of her best-known songs Rehab, in which she sang, “They tried to make me go to rehab but I said no, no, no.”

She slid from being a chirpy teenage singer from a North London Jewish family to someone who could barely walk at her final concert performance in Belgrade, Serbia.

She won critical acclaim after the release of her debut album Frank in 2003 before becoming a worldwide phenomenon with the success of Back to Black.

Her death has sparked a surge in demand for her music.

British music retailer HMV predicted on Monday that she would be number one next week as sales of Back to Black, which won five Grammys, continue to grow.

The company said many people had downloaded the album online but many would want to buy CDs to feel a “more tangible and closer connection with Amy”.

“It’s something that we tend to see when any great music legend or rock star passes,” said HMV spokesperson Gennaro Castaldo.

The Daily Telegraph newspaper reported on Monday that material recorded before Winehouse’s death could be released as a posthumous album, citing sources who said Winehouse had recorded “a lot of material” and that her parents would have the final say on whether a new album is to be released.

Winehouse’s spokesperson told Reuters there was currently no confirmation of the release of a third album. “I know there’s material about, but no one’s talked about it,” he said.

Her recording company, Island Records, a subsidiary of Universal Music Group had no comment about the possibility of a posthumous album.

The inquest will resume in October.
- Reuters

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