These Were Amy Winehouse's Tragic Final Words

Amy Winehouse was tipsy but still able to hold a conversation. Dr. Christina Romete, the soulful British pop singer's general practitioner, had been treating Winehouse for several years amid her rollercoaster struggles with alcohol and hard drugs. "She'd made tremendous efforts over the years," Romete told a London Coroner's Court in October 2011 (via the Associated Press). That evening, July 22, 2011, Romete visited Winehouse who had again relapsed after several weeks of sobriety. The singer had kicked drugs three years earlier but alcohol proved harder to stay away from.

Winehouse shot to global fame in 2006 at just 20 years old with her second studio album "Back to Black” and its hit single "Rehab," which hinted at the substance use issues she was already facing before the harsh glare of stardom and British tabloids compounded her problems. That night, Winehouse talked about her upcoming birthday. Romete suggested she seek mental health assistance but Winehouse refused. "She was very determined to do everything her way, including her therapy," the doctor told the court (via The Mirror). "She had very strict views on that." 

Before Romete left that evening, the 27-year-old told her she "didn't want to die." The next day Winehouse's bodyguard found her dead in her bed from alcohol poisoning.

Amy Winehouse's substance use issues

Amy Winehouse had always been open about her substance use issues, to a point. "I do drink a lot," she told the British television show "London Live" in 2006. "I think it's symptomatic of my depression. I'm a manic depressive. I'm not an alcoholic, which sounds like an alcoholic in denial." Addiction psychiatrist Dr. David Sack told ABC News around the time of Winehouse's death that she may have "minimized the extent to which her life was impacted by drugs and alcohol."

Her ex-husband, Blake Fielder-Civil introduced her to hard drugs, including heroin and crack cocaine, when they were together. In 2013, he expressed remorse about it: "The fact is what I'm saying is of course I regret it, not just because of the damage it's caused Amy and the loss of life, but the damage to her family but also to my family and also to me," he said in 2013 (via The Guardian). Winehouse went into treatment several times but would leave before completing the programs. She'd managed to stay off drugs since 2008 — the coroner found no drugs in her system at the time of her death — but she continued to binge drink in between periods of sobriety.

Amy Winehouse's best friend tried to save her

Two days before Amy Winehouse died, her best friend, the musician Tyler James, left the Camden Square apartment they shared. "After years of trauma, of trying to save Amy, I was running out of ideas," he recounted in his book "My Amy: The Life We Shared." "So now, every time she relapsed, I'd leave because I wouldn't support her drinking." They had just had a blow-up after he angrily told her that if she continued drinking she would die. She didn't want to hear it.

After Winehouse tearfully asked him to come home, James returned the day after their conversation — on July 23, 2011 — to find an ambulance outside of their apartment and his best friend being worked on by an EMT. She was dead. James felt Winehouse was on the verge of a breakthrough with her addiction. "I want people to please, please recognize how hard she had worked to come off drugs and just how close she was to [giving up alcohol] for good, how close she was to being healthy," James told The Times (via People).

Her final hours

Andrew Morris, Amy Winehouse's live-in security guard, heard her laughing and listening to music on the last night of her life. The next day on July 23, she told the security at her house that she was going to sleep at around 10 a.m, per People. When someone checked on her a little before 4 p.m. she was unresponsive. First responders were unable to revive the struggling singer.

When the police arrived at the apartment, they found three empty bottles of vodka in her bedroom. The coroner discovered Winehouse had a blood alcohol level of 0.4 percent at the time of her death, more than five times the legal limit for drunk driving in England, and in this case, a fatal amount that likely stopped her breathing and sent her into a coma. They labeled it "death by misadventure." 

Her best friend Tyler James believed that fame had played a large part in her demise. "Fame is like terminal cancer; I wouldn't wish it on anyone," Winehouse once told him. "Amy was a girl in her twenties suffering from addiction, and everybody was a part of it," James told The Times (via People). "Everybody was watching it. When you go to rehab, you have to be the strongest you've ever been in your life, when you are the weakest you've ever been in your life. And she had to go through that in front of people."

If you or anyone you know needs help with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).