Amy Winehouse died as the unintended consequence of drinking too much alcohol, a British coroner ruled Wednesday. Coroner Suzanne Greenaway gave a verdict of “death by misadventure,” saying the singer died of accidental alcohol poisoning. “The unintended consequence of such potentially fatal levels (of alcohol) was her sudden and unexpected death,” Greenaway said.
The singer, who had fought drug and alcohol problems for years, was found dead in bed at her London home on July 23 at age 27. An initial autopsy proved inconclusive, although it found no traces of illegal drugs in her system. Pathologist Suhail Baithun told the inquest into the singer’s death that Winehouse had consumed a “very large quantity of alcohol” — the level in her blood put her more than five times over the legal drunk-driving limit.
Police Detective Inspector Les Newman, who was called after a security guard found Winehouse, said empty vodka bottles were scattered around her bedroom. Winehouse’s doctor, Dr. Christina Romete, said the singer had resumed drinking in the days before her death after a period of abstinence. Romete, who saw Winehouse the night before she died, said the singer was “tipsy but calm.” She said Winehouse had not spoken of suicide, and talked about her upcoming birthday. Romete said Winehouse had been prescribed drugs including the sedative Librium to help her cope with the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal, but the coroner said these had played no role in her death.
Winehouse family spokesman Chris Goodman said it was a relief to the family “to finally find out what happened to Amy.” “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,” he said.