But according to older brother Alex Winehouse -- who spoke out in promotion the "Amy Winehouse: A Family Portrait" exhibition now on at the Jewish Museum in London -- it was Amy's struggle with bulimia that really led to her death.
In a revealing and heartfelt interview with the Observer, Alex, 33, describes his relationship with the celebrated artist as one of typical sibling dissonance. "She was annoying, frustrating, a pain in the bum. But she was also incredibly generous, very caring," he said. "She was a really good person. And horrible in other respects."
He also recounted the Grammy winner's battle with bulimia and said he believed her eating disorder directly contributed to her sudden death.
An excerpt from the interview is below:
"[Amy at 17 was hanging out with girls who] were all doing it. They'd put loads of rich sauces on their food, scarf it down and throw it up. They stopped doing it, but Amy never really did … We all knew she was doing it, but it's almost impossible [to tackle] especially if you're not talking about it. It's a real dark, dark issue...
She suffered from bulimia very badly. That's not, like, a revelation – you knew just by looking at her… She would have died eventually, the way she was going, but what really killed her was the bulimia… Absolutely terrible ... I think that it left her weaker and more susceptible. Had she not had an eating disorder, she would have been physically stronger."
Winehouse died on July 23, 2011, at the age of 27. She famously battled drug and alcohol abuse for years, and had checked into rehab for substance abuse just a few months prior to her death.
For more of Alex Winehouse's interview on his sister, click through to the Observer.
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