It's bad enough that Amy Winehouse has passed away; what makes it worse is the feeling of near inevitability now that we've gotten the news. Her own mother told one of the London tabloids several years ago (not the most trustworthy news source, but still...) that she "would not be surprised" if Amy died "before her time."
Right now, the police in London have termed her death "unexplained," but I think we are all, sadly, rushing to the same conclusion.
Amy Winehouse was a larger-than-life character, and she lived a larger-than-life life. The drinking and drugs, the rehab stints, the live performances which reached impressive highs and, more often and more recently, disturbing lows, the fights and the incoherent speeches...it all fed the tabloid frenzy that followed her wherever she went and fueled our collective feeling that somewhere under all that enormous celebrity was a normal-sized person in big trouble.
Her talent was evident. "Back to Black" will now shoot up the charts again as people recall why we noticed her in the first place. And her long-delayed third album will probably be finished and released in some form. It may suggest that she was returning to what she did best - making catchy, knowing, tart pop songs. Or it may suggest that Winehouse was a one-record flash in the pan. Either way, she leaves us with a legacy of music that is tragically incomplete, and a legacy of self-destructive behavior that is now both tragically complete, and all too familiar.