The formal inquest into Amy Winehouse’s death has concluded that she died of alcohol poisoning. Tests found her blood alcohol levels to be five times the legal limit for driving, enough to affect her breathing and put her into a coma.
Coroner Suzanne Greenway said: “The unintended consequences of such potentially fatal levels was her sudden death.”
Winehouse had 416mg of alcohol per decilitre in her blood. The Guardian reported that Home Office pathologist Suhail Baithun told the inquest that people began to lose their faculties at levels of 200mg.
“When you have levels of 350mg, it is associated with fatalities,” he said.
The amount of alcohol the singer had consumed could have created a problem for anyone, but as someone who was trying to control her binge drinking, Winehouse might have been more vulnerable to the alcohol’s effects because she had largely abstained in the period immediately before her death.
Dr. Christina Romete, Winehouse’s own physician, told the inquest that the singer had faced increased problems with alcohol after she managed to wean herself off drugs in 2008. Winehouse would waver between weeks of abstention and heavy bouts of drinking, she said.
Dr. Romete reported that she had seen Winehouse on the Friday before her death, and that she appeared to be “tipsy.” When the doctor asked whether she would stop drinking, Romete said, “She said she didn’t know. She was going to call me that weekend.” Romete said she was not concerned about suicide, saying Winehouse had told her, “I do not want to die.”
In a statement issued after the inquest, Winehouse’s parents said: “It is some relief to finally find out what happened to Amy. …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.”
“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,” they said. “We want to thank everyone for that and for their continuing enthusiasm for the [Amy Winehouse] foundation.”
The Telegraph ran this video of an interview with an addiction treatment specialist, who discussed Winehouse’s battles with alcohol: