Too-Sudden Abstinence Killed Amy, Says British Tabloid

By Will Godfrey 07/28/11

Winehouse family source says the singer died from acute alcohol withdrawal.

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Amy Winehouse's family believes her death was caused by her insistence on quitting drinking entirely for three weeks, rather than cutting down gradually as her doctors advised. A source "close to Amy's family" told UK tabloid The Sun: "Abstinence gave her body such a fright they thought it was eventually the cause of her death." She decided to go cold turkey shortly after her disastrous Serbian concert. The diminutive star slipped three days before her death, however, when she was seen drinking gin-and-Red-Bulls at a music venue in Camden, North London. For heavy drinkers, sudden alcohol withdrawal can cause well-documented risks of coma, seizures and death. Interventionist, sober living CEO and Fix Co-Founder Joe Schrank said: "Alcohol withdrawal is one of the hardest detoxes there is; in fact, it's the worst. Detoxing heroin addicts may wish for death—but with alcohol, you just don't do it without medical supervision." He has personally known a number of people for whom alcohol withdrawal was fatal. "When I do interventions and get someone on a plane, and they ask, 'Can I drink?' I say 'Absolutely.' Because if someone's physically dependent you don't want them withdrawing without medical help." The exact cause of Winehouse's death will not officially be known for several weeks, when the toxicology report is scheduled to be released.

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Will Godfrey is the former editor-in-chief of TheFix. He was also the founding editor-in-chief of, and previously co-founded a magazine for prisoners in London. His work has appeared in Salon, Pacific Standard, AlterNet and The Nation among others. He is currently the Executive Director at FILTER. You can find Will on Linkedin and Twitter.