Amy Winehouse likely died of seizure, dad says

LOS ANGELES Mon Sep 12, 2011 2:48pm EDT

A painting 'Amy' by British artist Johan Andersson is seen hanging at a pub in central London August 23, 2011.REUTERS/Toby Melville

A painting 'Amy' by British artist Johan Andersson is seen hanging at a pub in central London August 23, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Toby Melville

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The father of British singer Amy Winehouse said he believed his daughter died of a seizure brought on by ending years of binge drinking.

In his first major TV interview since the death of Winehouse, Mitch Winehouse told U.S. journalist Anderson Cooper that illicit drugs had nothing to do with her sudden passing at her London home in July.

Mitch Winehouse said the only drug in her system was the prescription medication Librium, which is used to help people with the symptoms of alcohol detoxification.

"She'd been clean (of drugs) for around about three years....Her problem was alcohol, the last few years of her life...She was prescribed Librium, which is a normal drug, which is given to people who are detoxing and it kind of decreases the chances of having seizures. She was continuing to take one of those pills everyday.

"She had a series of seizures brought on by this binge drinking and then stopping to drink....I think it's what the doctor said, I think she had a seizure and this was the time when there was no one there to rescue her," Winehouse told Cooper in an interview broadcast on Monday.

Winehouse's addiction to drugs and drink was well chronicled in the media and in her own hit songs like "Rehab."

She was found dead in her bed at home, age 27, causing an outpouring of grief and sending her music back to the top of the record charts. Her final recording, a duet called "Body and Soul" with crooner Tony Bennett, will be released on Wednesday this week on what would have been her 28th birthday.

Mitch Winehouse and Amy's mother Janis said they had been comforted by the reaction of fans. "In the most tragic of times it was the most wonderful experience that I think I have ever had in my life," Mitch Winehouse told Cooper.

"When we stepped out of the house at one time, people came up to me and they thanked me for having Amy. That's when I knew, this is something else. To be thanked for giving birth to my child. That's wonderful," Janis Winehouse said.

Cooper conducted the interview on his new syndicated daytime TV chat show "Anderson".

(Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by Bob Tourtellotte)

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