Winehouse had high alcohol levels in blood: inquest

LONDON Wed Oct 26, 2011 5:23pm EDT

1 of 2. British singer Amy Winehouse performs at the Brit Awards at Earls Court in London in this February 20, 2008 file photo.

Credit: Reuters/Alessia Pierdomenico/Files

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LONDON (Reuters) - British singer Amy Winehouse had more than five times the legal driving limit of alcohol in her blood when she died on July 23 aged 27, British media reported on Wednesday.

The "Rehab" and "Back to Black" singer had 416 mg of alcohol per 100 ml of blood, according to the findings of an inquest into her death, compared with the legal driving limit of 80 mg.

A hearing in London also learned that Winehouse, who battled drug and alcohol addiction throughout her brief but successful career, had not drunk alcohol in July until the day before she died.

The findings backed reports shortly after her death that the Grammy award-winning artist had been trying to deal with her addiction but ran the risk of complications from binge drinking.

A security guard checked on Winehouse at 10 a.m. on the day she died at her house in Camden, north London, and thought she was asleep. He checked again at 3 p.m. and called the emergency services.

The inquest ruled that she had died of "misadventure."

"GREAT PAIN"

Members of her family, including her father Mitch, were present at the inquest, but made no comment to awaiting media as they left.

They later issued a statement saying it was "some relief" to find out what had happened to Winehouse.

"We understand there was alcohol in her system when she passed away -- it is likely a build up of alcohol in her system over a number of days," the family said.

"The court heard that Amy was battling hard to conquer her problems with alcohol and it is a source of great pain to us that she could not win in time. She had started drinking again that week after a period of abstinence."

Mitch Winehouse is in the process of setting up a charity in his daughter's name to help young people battling addiction.

"It underlines how important our work with the Amy Winehouse Foundation is to us, to help as many young people and children as we can in her name," the family statement said.

"It means a lot to us and from the overwhelming messages of support we have had since Amy died, we know she meant a great deal to people all over the world."

Winehouse's last filmed performance was in Serbia in June, when she was jeered by the crowd as she struggled to perform her songs and stay upright. Her management then canceled all her scheduled performances.

Results from toxicology tests released in August showed there were no illegal substances in Winehouse's system when she died.

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