Private funeral planned for Amy Winehouse

By Agence France-Presse
Tuesday, July 26, 2011 7:26 EDT
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Tributes outside the north London home of singer Amy Winehouse, who was found dead there on Saturday
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The family and close friends of Amy Winehouse were set to hold a private funeral for the British soul singer on Tuesday, as her boyfriend paid tribute to “my dear love”.

A family spokesman said the ceremony for the troubled 27-year-old, who was found dead at her north London home on Saturday, will be confined to family and close friends. He did not disclose the location or the time.

A post-mortem examination took place on Monday, but it failed to establish a formal cause of death. Police are not treating it as suspicious, however.

An inquest was also opened, allowing the body to be released to her family for her funeral. Jewish funerals traditionally take place as soon as possible.

The singer’s parents Mitch and Janis Winehouse formally identified her remains Monday before going to see the shrine of flowers, messages, candles, beer cans and vodka bottles outside her home in Camden Square.

Her boyfriend, Reg Traviss, also visited the tributes and in his first public statement since Winehouse’s death, told The Sun newspaper on Tuesday: “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. We have suffered a terrible untimely loss and want peace now.”

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 and trademark beehive hairstyle, Winehouse was considered one of the finest British female singers in years, but she had struggled with drink and drug addictions.

At the opening of the inquest Monday, which will establish the cause of death, coroner’s officer Sharon Duff gave Winehouse’s full name, age, date and place of birth, divorcee status, address and occupation.

She said her parents had identified the body and tissue samples had been taken, adding: “The scene was investigated by police and determined non-suspicious.”

A police statement added: “A post-mortem was conducted at St Pancras Mortuary. It 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.

“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.

“You people in the street, I can’t tell you what this means to us. It really is making this a lot easier for us,” he said.

“Amy was about one thing and that was love. Her whole life was devoted to her family and her friends.”

Winehouse won critical acclaim with her 2003 debut album “Frank” but her second and last album, “Back to Black”, released in 2006, propelled her to international success.

It contained her biggest-selling single “Rehab”, and landed her five Grammy awards.

Winehouse often laid bare her demons in her lyrics, 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.

The singer is expected to top the British charts when they come out on Sunday following a huge surge in demand for her albums.

Agence France-Presse
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