Winehouse autopsy proves inconclusive

AN autopsy on singer Amy Winehouse yesterday failed to determine what killed the 27-year-old star, leaving fans and family with a weeks-long wait for the toxicology test results.

Winehouse’s parents visited mourners outside her north London home to thank them for their support, ahead of a private funeral that is due to take place today. The family said “family and close friends” would attend.

The announcement by her grieving family came after police said they would need to wait up to four weeks for test results to establish a cause of death for the 27-year-old.

The singer, who had struggled with drug and alcohol abuse for years, was found dead at home on Saturday by a member of her security team, who called an ambulance. It arrived too late to save her.

The Metropolitan Police said yesterday that a forensic post mortem “did not establish a formal cause of death and we await the results of further toxicology tests.” Those are expected to take two to four weeks.

An inquest into the singer’s death was opened and adjourned at London’s St Pancras Coroner’s Court. During the two-minute hearing, an official read out the name, birth date and address of Winehouse, described as “a divorced lady living at Camden Square NW1.”

“She was a singer songwriter at the time of her death and was identified by her family here at St Pancras this morning,” said coroner’s officer Sharon Duff, adding the scene “was investigated by police and determined non-suspicious.”

In Britain, inquests are held to establish the facts whenever someone dies violently or in unexplained circumstances. Assistant Deputy Coroner Suzanne Greenaway said Winehouse’s inquest would resume on October 26.

The singer’s father, mother and brother visited her home yesterday, stopping to inspect the mounds of bouquets, candles and handwritten notes across the road from the Victorian house.

Her father, Mitch Winehouse, thanked mourners for their tributes.

“I can’t tell you what this means to us. It really is making this a lot easier for us,” he said. “We’re devastated and I’m speechless but thanks for coming.”

The singer’s mother, Janis, was in tears as she examined the flowers, candles, vodka bottles, flags, drawings and handwritten cards left by neighbours, fans and well-wishers. Many of the offerings expressed the same sentiment: “What a waste.”

“I’ll remember her as a troubled soul,” said fan Ethna Rouse, who brought her 4-year-old son to leave a bouquet. “Like many artists in the world — they are tortured souls, and that’s where the talent comes from.”

The singer had battled her demons publicly, often making headlines for erratic behaviour, destructive relationships and abortive performances. But she was remembered fondly by her neighbours in Camden, the creative but gritty neighbourhood where she lived on and off for years.

“She was too young to die and too talented, and too beautiful,” said Peggy Conlon, landlady of the Dublin Castle pub. “She’s missed by everyone, not one person had a bad word to say about that kid.”

Her last public appearance came three days before her death, when she briefly joined her goddaughter, singer Dionne Bromfield, on stage at The Roundhouse in Camden.

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