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Family, friends pay respects at Amy Winehouse’s funeral

LONDON – (AFP)  Amy Winehouse’s family, friends and fans paid their last respects to the troubled British soul singer at her funeral on Tuesday, three days after the 27-year-old was found dead at her London home.

Her parents Mitch and Janis Winehouse had planned a private ceremony, although some fans came to pay tribute to one of the finest British singers of her generation, whose talent was overshadowed by her addictions to alcohol and drugs.

DJ Mark Ronson, who produced most of the 2006 album “Back to Black” which catapulted Winehouse to international stardom, was among those attending the Jewish ceremony at Edgwarebury Cemetery in northwest London.

A post-mortem examination on Monday failed to establish a formal cause of death, and police said the results of further toxicology tests could take up to four weeks. However, her death is not being viewed as suspicious.

“It’s really, really sad. It is just such a waste,” said fan Vicky Robinson, 36, from Harrow, northwest London.

Winehouse’s back-up singers Zalon and Heshima Thompson were among those attending the funeral, as was television personality Kelly Osbourne, wearing her hair in what appeared to be Winehouse’s trademark beehive style.

The singer’s parents thanked her fans on Monday for their support as they visited a growing memorial of flowers, candles, messages and even vodka bottles left outside Winehouse’s home in Camden Square, north London.

Her boyfriend, Reg Traviss, also visited the tributes and in his first public statement, told The Sun newspaper: “The last three days have been hell.

“We have suffered a terrible untimely loss and want peace now.

“I can’t describe what I am going through 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 love very much.”

Traviss had been dating Winehouse for two years, following her divorce from Blake Fielder-Civil in July 2009. Their two-year marriage had been tempestuous, and Fielder-Civil spent part of it behind bars for attacking a pub landlord.

With her sultry vocals, Winehouse became an international star with “Back to Black”, her second and last album, which won her five Grammy awards and also contained her biggest-selling single “Rehab”.

The singer is expected to top the British charts when they come out on Sunday following a huge surge in demand for “Back to Black” and her debut album, “Frank”, released in 2003.

“Rehab”, a song about her refusal to seek treatment for her addictions, was typical of how she used her music to lay bare her demons.

But they increasingly took over, and she had to scrap a European comeback tour after stumbling through the opening performance in Belgrade on June 18.

At the opening of the inquest on Monday, which will establish the cause of death, coroner’s officer Sharon Duff confirmed some basic details about Winehouse before adjourning it until October 26.

Duff said the singer’s parents had identified the body, adding: “The scene was investigated by police and determined non-suspicious.”

A police statement said the post-mortem “did not establish a formal cause of death and we await the results of further toxicology tests.” These could take two to four weeks, it added.

Mitch Winehouse, who flew back from New York after hearing of his daughter’s death, could barely speak as he was consoled by fans and well-wishers outside her home on Monday.

“Thank you for coming. This means so much to my family,” he said, his voice cracking with emotion, adding: “We’re devastated.”

Winehouse was particularly close to her father, a jazz aficionado, who inspired her love of music by singing to her when she was a child.


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