LOS ANGELES (TheWrap.com) - The co-founder of Passages Malibu treatment center thinks that Amy Winehouse's "membership" in the so-called 27 Club may have been by design, not just an eerie coincidence.
Since the 27-year old British singer's body was found on Saturday, much has been made of the fact that she was the same age as Janis Joplin, Kurt Cobain Jim Morrison and Jimi Hendrix when she died. It's a group that's been dubbed the 27 Club or the Forever 27 Club.
"I think Amy Winehouse may have secretly wanted to be part of the 27 Club," Pax Prentiss, the co-founder of the California rehabilitation center, told TheWrap. "Amy was on a dark path and she may have glamorized the idea of being part of that group."
A preliminary autopsy has yet to determine what caused Winehouse's death, but regardless, Prentiss thinks that the singer never received the kind of treatment she needed for her very public struggles with addiction. He maintains that the centers she attended were focused on getting Winehouse clean instead of dealing with her motivation for turning to drugs and alcohol in the first place.
"I believe she was dealing with deep psychological pain," Prentiss told TheWrap. "To get her sober and keep her sober rather than treat her for alcoholism, you have to go to the root cause. The drinking and the drugs are a symptom of deeper problems."
Prentiss never treated the "Rehab" singer, but he said that based on footage of one of her final stage performances in Serbia, Winehouse appeared to be abusing multiple drugs.
In Winehouse's case, the emotional heartbreak that she mined so beautifully on her multiple Grammy-winning album "Back to Black" was both a tribute to her artistry and a sign of a deeper vulnerability that may have allowed her to access those feelings in her songs, but also led to her undoing.
"I don't know what Amy's issues were, but I do know from experience that artists have a tendency to be sensitive," Prentiss said. "They're talented yes, but the outside world affects them differently and they're prone to turn to drugs in order to cope with the pressures put upon them.
"I think Amy had an image that she was a tough rock 'n' roll girl, but she was delicate, sensitive and she needed help," he added.