By Althea Champion
By the time of Amy Winehouse’s death in 2011, the death itself was no shock. Today, more than nine years after her death, people still wallow in the sorrow it brought and celebrate the birthday of a legend.
In the weeks leading up to her death, her antics were well-documented. She developed tumultuous relationships with rehab facilities that she entered and exited frequently, engaged in fights, and attracted unwanted attention from the press.
Winehouse insisted that she came by her popularity honestly.
“I don’t write a song and think, ‘oh, a million people will hear this,'” she told E! News in 2007. “I write a song because I need to make sense of why I do certain things.”
And the public loved it. Winehouse relished in her pain and imperfection, sporting big boobs, thick eyeliner, and a mane of hair that stood in contradiction to the rest of her small frame—but it undeniably worked.
Her fame began with the debut of Frank, a 2003 album that garnered acclamation from critics and others in the U.K. That success was followed by the infamous Back to Black album in 2006, known most well by Rehab, which shot her to Grammy-winner status, despite her inability to physically accept the awards in 2008; she couldn’t secure a visa in time.
Her talent was undeniable. Her sultry voice, embellished by a darling rasp, captivated her audience and made her a star. The musical contributions she gifted the world are still sung today from rooftops—now, with indisputable irony.
During 2010, she was singing, performing, and alternating between sobriety and heavy drinking. In Jan. 2011, she had a seizure that she allegedly had no recollection of. And for the rest of 2011, until her death in July, she alternated between hospitals, rehabilitation clinics, and her apartment.
Then on July 23rd, she was found dead by her security guard, Andrew Morris, accompanied by three empty vodka bottles.
On the day of her tragic death, stars like Lady Gaga, Adele, Rihanna, Tony Bennett, and Kelly Clarkson paid tribute to the singer, expressing their grief on social media. Today, a Winehouse birthday does not pass by without someone noticing. On what would have been her 37th birthday, the same occurred.
Famous figures like Patti Smith, Lady Gaga, and Nas took to social media, expressing how they missed the icon, and commemorating the gift she gave to everyone, despite herself.
Like the rockstars who preceded her, she lives on in the hearts and ears of many, reminding us to be proud of who we are.
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