John Goodman's Incredible Weight Loss

John Goodman looking in good shape after his weight loss adventure

John Goodman first rose to prominence as the sarcastic, chubby, working class father and foil to Roseanne Barr in the 1990s hit TV show ‘Roseanne’. As a big man, John was well aware of the implications to his health, especially as he got older; he knew he ran the risk of heart disease, diabetes and worse. Never one to shirk from a fight, he decided to do something about his oversized physique and set about a drastic weight loss program that would eventually reap healthy benefits and draw compliments and plaudits from many quarters.

He premiered his new, svelte self at the AFI Life Achievement Award for Mike Nichols and shortly afterwards photos of the new-look actor found their way onto the pages of a glut of magazines and websites.

His transformation was both striking and inspirational and during an appearance on ‘The Late Show With David Letterman’ shortly after showing off his new body on the red carpet, the host pressed him on the thorny issue of his peak weight.

John Goodman pushing around 400lbs

Plenty … pushing 400 … somewhere up around there.”

John went on to explain how for years, especially during his work on ‘Roseanne’, his body had to endure a vicious cycle of gaining and shedding weight.

I’d get off of ‘Roseanne’ every spring. I’d lose 60 lbs every spring. Then I got too fond of the barley corn… I’d gain it back and then some, every year.”

A happier looking John Goodman who has battled with his weight for years

The exact amount of weight Goodman lost remains unknown and unconfirmed, some media outlets claim to know that he lost as much as 200lbs!

But for John that’s just not enough and his desire to lose even more weight was something he was all too happy to discuss.

[I’m] getting a lot of exercise, I feel great. It’s going to be an ongoing process for the rest of my life.”


Burt Reynolds on his Addiction to Painkillers

Burt Reynolds almost killed himself on Halcion

Moustache-toting Hollywood actor, Burt Reynolds, entered himself into a rehabilitation clinic in Florida in order to receive treatment for his addiction to painkillers. Reynolds fell into the dependency trap after undergoing surgery on his back but after the initial pain subsided he realized he couldn’t stop taking the medication. He checked himself into the Hanley Center in West Palm Beach although the tenure of his stay is unclear.

His manager, Erik Kritzer, issued a statement which said that Reynolds sought help after he “realized he was in the prison of prescription pain pills.”

According to further statements by Kritzer, Reynolds was hopeful that his very public battle against the painkiller addiction would prove to others that to recover from addiction they need to seek professional help or risk being stuck in a perpetual cycle of habitual behaviour and damaging every aspect of their life in the process.

The famous moustache - Burt Reynolds

He checked himself into rehab in order to regain control of his life,” Kritzer said in the statement. “Mr. Reynolds hopes his story will help others in a similar situation. He hopes they will not try to solve the problem by themselves, but realize that sometimes it is too tough to do on their own and they should seek help, as he did.”

But for the star of ‘Boogie Nights’ and ‘Smokey and the Bandit’ this was not his first run in with prescription medication. In the 1980s he broke his jaw after an untrained stuntman hit him around the head with a metal chair whilst filming the very first scene of ‘City Heat’ in which he starred alongside Clint Eastwood. Due to injuries incurred by the mistake he was prescribed Halcion, a sleeping drug which was supposed to help him through the pain. Sadly Reynolds became addicted to them and blames his ‘strong constitution’ for allowing him to take up to 50 tablets a day.

50 Halcion a day?” One interviewer asked him.

Yeah, of the blue ones, strong ones. And still talking! “Uh Loni I’m gwong too gowhoa downshtairs.” She’d say, “What, I just gave you three sleeping pills.” My tolerance went up. I would get out of bed and take five pills. And I’d be awake and five or six hours later I’d take five or six more. So, yeah, 50 pills over a 24-hour period.“ He replied.

Burt Reynolds before the moustache took a hold

The jaw injury nearly cost him his career as at the time he was placed on a liquid diet which caused him to shed 50 pounds. He looks back upon that time as one of the most insane periods of his life but has since made good recoveries from both addictions – going cold turkey on the Halcion which resulted in an eight hour coma and doctors calling his wife in to say her final goodbyes..

Shortly after the Halcion episode rumours began to circulate that he had contracted HIV and that made his life even harder. Clearly the rumours were unfounded and Reynolds is still alive and well and certainly not showing any signs of having HIV or AIDS.

This is the end: Jim Morrison

In June 2011 fans gathered around the grave of The Doors’ legendary frontman, Jim Morrison at the Père Lachaise cemetery, Paris, to pay tribute to him thirty years after his passing.

There was a strong security presence in and around the cemetery on the day, French police anticipating the same trouble that has marred previous anniversaries. It was the evening of the 20th anniversary that drunken ‘fans’ stormed the cemetery gates while officials closed the cemetery – at closing time, the whole thing ending in fiasco.

The shrine has been visited by thousands of tourists who come to lay flowers and other tributes on the grave. As one of the most famous graveyards in the world people turn up in droves to visit the graves of Oscar Wilde, Balzac, Bizet, Chopin Édith Piaf, Marcel Proust, Gertrude Stein and her Alice B Toklas, and Morrison’s other famous neighbours.

The saddening sight of beer bottles, rolled spliffs, cigarettes and clumsily written tributes, obviously hastily scribed in a moment of drunken melancholia that crudely decorated Morrison’s grave, as if having a drink problem makes the bearers a kindred spirit with the deceased artist, was a common vista. It was almost as if they were celebrating the lifestyle that killed him, rather than the musician himself and akin putting toy cars on a road accident victim’s grave (or as Bill Hicks put it, “wearing a crucifix to celebrate Jesus”). However, alcohol has since been banned and the celebrations have become more modest and peaceful than in previous years.

Jim Morrison

Jim Morrison: Smoke gets in his eyes

Jim Morrison and The Doors were the seminal psychedelic 60s group whose sound still continues to conjure up an era of musical, spiritual and sexual decadence that is sadly long gone (just the sex remains), and probably more so than any other band of that era. The singer’s unique vocals and electrifying sex appeal combined with tousled hair and animalistic stage presence did nothing to hamper the band’s success. His rugged good looks combined with sophisticated lyrics often of social importance and love of classical poetry and literature made him almost irresistible to young women of the era who were just enjoying the freedom of their spirituality and sexuality as if for the first time. Few songs encapsulate an era quite as well as ‘Light My Fire’; conjuring the swinging, drug dazed, sexually ambiguous sixties upon every listen.

In 1971 the singer defected to Paris to avoid the increasingly tiresome groupies, press and escape his decadent lifestyle so that he could focus on writing. He was found dead in his bathtub three months later, aged just 27, the coroner pronouncing a verdict of death by natural courses despite rumours of lethal cocktails of drugs, alcohol and asthma.

The Doors are another example of a seminal rock band of the calibre and longevity that we no longer see. There is no modern equivalent and given the state of the music industry it’s likely there never will be. Morrison is the end of an era.

Greenday's Billie Joe Armstrong Flies Off His Rocker and Into Rehab

Billie Joe Armstrong smashes his guitar up

Billie Joe Armstrong smashes his guitar up. How very original.

All is not well for Greenday frontman Billie Joe Armstrong who looks set for a long stint in rehab for treatment of substance abuse. The post-punk-pop-rock-but-mainly-pop singer has been under the hammer in the past 12 months and the signs of mounting pressure started to become publicly evident.

After a tantrum in Las Vegas where Armstrong reacted badly to being given only one minute to finish his skit, resulting in a swearing fest and a smashed guitar (all publicity is good publicity, kids, mkai) the singer/songwriter was admitted to a clinic for help with his problems.

In an interview with Rolling Stone magazine, label boss Rob Cavallo said ‘he’s under medical supervision for a while to get him clean. His doctors are still evaluating’

‘All I can say is I don’t know if we’ll see him before or after Christmas. It’s basically undetermined when he will be back’

Armstrong’s behavior had become more erratic in the build up to his rehabilitation and Mike Dirnt, bassist in Greenday and solid friend to Armstrong spoke with Radio 1’s Zane Lowe where he shed some light on the possible cause of the issues citing the pressure to promote the band’s triple album releases of ‘¡Uno!’, ‘¡Dos!’ and ‘¡Tre!’.

‘With hindsight 20/20, it was a tremendous undertaking,’ offered Dirnt. ‘Although we were having fun, we didn’t take our nose out of the book for a long time.’

‘I think it catches up with you a little bit. We definitely just jumped off a moving train.’

‘There were signs of things hitting the fan, we hadn’t slept in forever and Billie had definitely had the worst of it.’

‘He’d been going through his own struggles; we were there with him, but you can only handle things on your own.’

‘At the end of the day, when we got off the road, the most important thing was my friend’s life.’

Greenday’s success isn’t a surprise; their nursery rhyme pop songs are as catchy as anything you’re likely to hear and with a dash of eye liner and spiky hair they appeal to the pseudo-alternative crowd (despite being one of the most mainstream bands out there). It’s amazing how much you can get out of three chords.

For all the talk it is actually possible that we’re seeing the fame and fortune associated with success going to Armstrong’s head. We’ve seen it happen on so many occasions before when the ego takes hold and the humble little soul that set out on the road to glory whithers and cowers in the corner. Maybe, just maybe, Armstrong is simply behaving like a brat with too many toys.


Gerry Rafferty loses battle with alcoholism

Gerry Rafferty

Gerry Rafferty, the musician responsible for the 70s hit ‘Baker Street’ amongst others has passed away aged 63, due to long-term alcoholism.

Rafferty spent many years battling with the debilitating disease that destroyed his liver, and although his condition did improve slightly, eventually his life support machine was switched off and he was allowed to die.

Rafferty was born April 16th, 1947 in Paisley, Scotland, the son of a devout man who was also a drinker and unpredictable. Like most people, he developed a love for music during his teens.

For a short while he worked with Billy Connolly in The Humblebums, a Glaswegian band who recorded a few albums together before Rafferty decided it was time to go solo when he recorded his first solo endeavour, Can I Have My Money Back in 1972. That same year he teamed up with an old friend to form the band Stealers Wheel who enjoyed much success with the hit song Stuck In The Middle which reached number 6 in the charts and later received a second wave of success when it was used by Quentin Tarantino in Reservoir Dogs.

In 1978, Rafferty released City to City, a solo album that sold over 5 million copies worldwide, and contained his classic hit Baker Street which owed much of its success to the sound of Raphael Ravencroft’s saxophone riff.

Rafferty’s last few years were marred by reports of uncharacteristic behaviour. He was thrown out of the Westbury Hotel in London for unruly conduct and then checked himself into hospital citing liver problems as the reason. Just a month later he disappeared altogether with sources claiming that he was happy and well and writing new material in Tuscany, when in truth  he was in a Dorset hospital receiving treatment for both alcoholism and liver failure.

Former manager Michael Gray was effusive in his praise of Rafferty’s voice, and believes that it was his stubbornness that limited his musical achievements. “Behind an aggressive front, and a strong awareness of his own musical excellence, was fear. He turned down working with Eric Clapton, Paul McCartney and others.”

Rafferty leaves behind his daughter Martha; his granddaughter Celia; and brother, Jim.


Amy Winehouse: The rise and fall of an addict

It was in the autumn of 2004 when I briefly met Amy Winehouse. She was quiet then; a humble and well presented little mouse who appeared clean and healthy as we stood outside the White Horse in Fouberts Place near Carnaby Street. Absent were the tattoos and the big hair which became her trademark look. She was a slightly curvaceous and attractive young woman stepping out on the road to what should have been a fantastic life.

The chance meeting came at a time when my own band which had enjoyed a reasonable amount of success with a major New York label was just about at an end and her career was taking flight nicely. She was stood with a mutual friend who owned a small independent hip-hop label and he was looking after her at that time.

He was a good man, a quietly spoken gentle giant and not in the least excessive, and Winehouse was certainly in safe hands with him.

Amy Winehouse 2004 promo shot

Amy Winehouse in 2004 - a far cry from the tattooed excessive who sadly passed away on Saturday.

What happened to that quiet and pleasant girl in the following years has been overly documented to a degree of offensiveness; myself as guilty as any other journalist who needed a story. And that was one thing Amy could always be relied upon for – to give us something to write, laugh or talk about.

But that’s a different story and I want to share aspects of my own personal experience with the music industry and the way it can inflate the ego of even the most humble people, because it’s the very same music industry which has ultimately cost Amy Winehouse her life.

Money and the music industry

The lure of the music industry: money, fame and a life of luxury but very few ever get that.

From the outside it seems like one of the most glamorous lifestyles going: money, fame, popularity and seemingly the freedom to live as you please.

But when you step through the door you realise just how insidious the music industry really is. If you’re lucky enough to be that successful then yes, the fame and money comes along but it’s all the other things that creep into the picture which make it so disgusting.

As your success begins to grow you find yourself with a whole new set of ‘friends’; people who almost worship you and tell you frequently that you’re amazing and wonderful and can do no wrong. They fight to be by your side and follow you wherever you go. It can get ugly too when you don’t live up to their expectations or get sick of them being around. They can turn violent.

Alcohol and drugs

Drugs, booze and other excesses come far too easy in the music industry.

Then comes the excess of a fevered ego. It was my experience that booze suddenly became very easy to get for nothing as everyone wanted to buy me a drink and hear my stories. As a drinker at that time I revelled in it. I too lived in Camden Town and trawled the same pubs as Winehouse – The Monarch, The Hawley Arms, The Edinburgh Castle, Bar Tok and The Enterprise, the latter allowing all night drinking. I could go out without a penny in my pocket on any given night and come home absolutely ‘smithereened’.

Within those circles were darker elements. There was always someone offering a line of coke or something even more nefarious and so often an invite back to a den of iniquity which led to days of binges on uppers, downers and painful hangovers.

I have absolutely no doubt that Amy Winehouse was subject to the same scenarios but probably on an even bigger scale.

[adsense]Another problem with the music industry (and the word problem really isn’t strong enough) is that everyone has an opinion on everything you do. Be it your music, image, lifestyle or whatever, every minutiae of your life comes under scrutiny and often in the cruellest of ways. I remember receiving some extremely harsh criticism over my weight and my songs to the extent that I developed eating disorders and lost my desire to write anymore. I was blasé about some reviews but there are those out there who are so cruel in their writing that it’s impossible not to feel hurt.

Amy Winehouse would have been subject to this on a massive scale and to see pictures of herself and pointless conjecture banded all over the papers would certainly have had an impact on her self confidence, which in turn would have plunged her further into the sanctity of her addictions.

Addiction is a powerful disease and she suffered heavily with it. Drug use and excessive lifestyles are not glamorous and they are not something we should aspire to. Addictions ruin and often end people’s lives as has been highlighted in Amy Winehouse’s case. She seemed devoid of a good support circle who could have guided her away from the drugs and alcohol and her hangers on would have delighted in her reverie as it gave them a platform to sustain their own excess, kudos and recognition – fame by proxy. Undoubtedly the harsh treatment by an uncaring, ratings driven media will have fuelled her desire to escape reality as much as possible and speculation that she was indifferent about living in the end comes as no surprise.

Amy Winehouse

Amy Winehouse; A sad waste of talent and life.

There are many tragedies within the Amy Winehouse story; her death at such a young age is uppermost in people’s minds but worse still is her refusal to seek help in overcoming her addictions. So many addicts are happy with their excesses and perhaps Amy was too. It is not hard to understand her desire to remain in an altered state given the nature of the industry in which she forged a living and the vultures which routinely circle it.

The greatest tragedy though is that the media and world at large was only interested in Amy the Clown; nobody seemed to care for her when she was clean; just another singer with a talent.

In the wake of the Rupert Murdoch scandal and the way newspapers gather their information to sell their stories, it’s about time a serious change was made. Celebrities are still human beings and just because they’re in the public eye doesn’t mean they’re impervious to criticism.

Amy Winehouse had the world at her feet, but her decision to stay within the confines of Camden Town and all its ugliness gave her little chance of ever coming to terms with the addictions that she used to protect herself from the harshness of an encroaching public and media.

Maybe I’m wide of the mark;  I’m a guesser  making guesses as that’s all I can do. I never knew Amy Winehouse, I just met her briefly one evening is Soho where she appeared sweet, shy and a far cry from the train wreck which finally came to a crashing halt on Saturday afternoon. Like so many others I’m sifting the wreckage for signs of a clue but having had some insight into the music industry and living with addictions I know how much both can screw you up, and how they perpetuate one another.

Russell Brand with Amy Winehouse

Russell Brand befriended Amy Winehouse in Camden. He admired and respected her talent and paid a beautiful homage to her over the weekend.

As Russell Brand rightly said, “Whether this tragedy was preventable or not is now irrelevant. It is not preventable today. We have lost a beautiful and talented woman to this disease.”

He who makes a beast of himself, gets rid of the pain of being a man.” ~ Samuel Johnson.

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Read about other stars who dies young such as Heath Ledger, Kurt Cobain, Ryan Dunn, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrisson and Andy Irons.



Shamy Winehouse is Dead: Does Anyone Really Care?

So the world’s most famous alcoholic and junkie – the car crash that was Amy Winehouse – is dead at last, putting herself out of what appeared to be a miserable quagmire of destructive addiction. And even worse, an addiction played out as the world salaciously watched and salivated, savouring every picture of her bruised, bedraggled, bleeding and intoxicated body and persona. No one is surprised but everyone is shocked.

But when the self-destructive girl was abnormally clean and healthy, no one was really interested in her. What’s newsworthy about that? We liked Amy Winehouse the clown entertaining everyone as they sat at their grey desks in grim offices and pedestrian jobs, looking for excuses not to work. Look at her pulling funny faces with her make up smeared across her face; look at her funny skinny legs, isn’t she a fabulous disaster? Ha ha ha. Ho ho ho. She can sing as well you know. But no one likes a clown without their make up or funny trousers on.

Amy Winehouse

Amy Winehouse was actually a singer as well as a junkie.

As a nation of alcoholics many of us looked at her and thought, ‘God, not even I’m that bad!’ – and it made us feel that bit better, knowing that our own paltry addictions and afflictions couldn’t compete with Amy Winehouse’s much publicised downfall. However drunk and offensive and embarrassing we became, Amy always did it better. And instead of just embarrassing pictures on Facebook only accessible by a handful of ‘friends’, Amy’s images were plastered across every red top juicepaper and every sanguinary celebrity website that thirsted for her pixelated celebrity blood.

Proving what a pathetic and sick bunch the human race is, her second album Back in Black re-entered the charts the day after her death. All of a sudden, with her departure, everyone is Amy Winehouse’s friend, everyone is an Amy Winehouse fan. The same rubberneckers that drank up the sometimes shocking images of her like gossip-hungry vampires whilst she was alive now mourn her passing, like they were a close friend.

Amy Winehouse looking sexy and sassy.

Amy Winehouse looking sexy and sassy.

And the tasteless stupidity doesn’t stop there. Some idiots in the guise of fans (or is it the other way around?) , have adorned her shrine in Camden Square, London with cigarettes and vodka bottles, which is like leaving a tumour at the grave of a cancer victim or Semtex at the shrine of someone wiped out during a bombing.

[adsense]A pilgrimage of fans and friends went to the Hawley Arms pub in North London – a trendy bar often visited by Winehouse and other famous Camdenite co-drinkers, all wanting to drink in the pub that she frequently attended. Which is exactly why people have been going to the Hawley Arms and a handful of other fashionable bars every other night anyway.

Perhaps if she’d got out of Camden – a melting pot for junkies and lushes and scabby musicians, she’d have stood a chance of survival. The area has achieved new status in the last few years due to the presence of Winehouse and her cohorts, turning regular pubs into trendy holes frequented by those desperate to be in the same space as some celebrity, like that might make them cool by association.

But there is really nothing cool about being an alcoholic or a junkie. It’s about time it stopped being romanticised by the creative industries: the troubled writer, the tortured artist, the suicidal genius.

Amy Winehouse before and after

Amy Winehouse: Attractive and healthy to skinny and drug-addled.

It’s no more tragic that Amy Winehouse died than if one of us mere mortals dies. It’s just more public. She had the opportunity to have a fantastic life. She could have done anything she wanted to but she screwed it up. She was a beautiful young woman – despite the many unflattering and scabrous images available on the internet – with a stunning voice, but she had one massive weakness – the brain of an addict and the propensity for self destruction. A propensity that made her exponentially more famous than simply having a tremendous voice, ever could.

I battled with drink problems and drug issues for many years, the only difference between Amy Winehouse and a regular lush or junkie is that the regular lush or junkie generally has to be able to function on some level. We have to make a living. We have responsibilities, we have to stay sober long enough to perform our jobs. We can’t afford to marinate ourselves in booze and drugs all day, otherwise we would.

Amy Winehouse

Amy Winehouse: sexy bitch.

So did alcohol kill her? Did drugs kill her? Did fame kill her? Or did Amy Winehouse kill herself? I wonder if the deceased chanteuse is worth more to her record label dead than alive? Is she less hassle and worry to her loved ones dead than she was alive? Definitely, I’d say.

I don’t care that we lost a great talent. Amy Winehouse was undoubtedly exceptionally talented. I care that we lost a young woman who should have been helped and protected; a young woman who was unable to cope with the fame that came with having a recognised talent.

On the other hand, Amy Winehouse was a sad alcoholic and a pathetic junkie and shouldn’t be revered for this type of behaviour, any more than the smack heads that skulk around the back streets of Camden Town. But of course she will be. She will be escalated to rock n roll martyr. Her death will guarantee her longevity. Something that continuing to live couldn’t have guaranteed.

Amy Winehouse

Amy Winehouse

We are all to blame for Amy Winehouse’s death. When I say ‘all’ I mean all of us that took pleasure in the images of her looking dreadful, drug addled and demented on booze and drugs. All of us that drank with her or took drugs with her were condoning her public suicide. But most of all, the hideous and unprincipled media that were always on hand, stalking her in order to capture every indiscretion and amplify it.

Amy Winehouse didn’t court public attention like media whores such as Lady Gaga do but garnered attention accidentally through having a great voice and an equally great affliction. I don’t believe Amy Winehouse was a lost cause. I believe that if she’d been kept away from Camden and other losers she could have turned her life around, as I and so many other losers have. I think that if she’d had a decent support network and if the media had left her alone, she’d have pulled through. She didn’t need an end to her suffering – whatever the course of that was – she wasn’t a wounded creature beyond repair. She could have survived. But that’s not very rock & roll, is it?

Ok, so we lost another junkie. So what? But unfortunately a young woman with a tremendous voice was lost too. Shame, huh?

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Amy Winehouse 'bought ecstasy, cocaine and ketamine' on night before death

The recently deceased Amy Winehouse reportedly bought a variety of drugs on the night before her death. The songstress was apparently seen buying substances possibly including ecstasy, cocaine, ketamine and even heroin from a dealer at around 10.30 pm in Camden on Friday night. She is also said to have been drinking heavily that night, which may have helped trigger a lethal reaction.

A source told The People: “Amy seemed determined to have a big one on Friday night. She was out in Camden on Friday evening, but seemed determined to carry on the party back at her flat. None of us know who was with her into the early hours of Saturday. But getting out of it was clearly her main priority of the night.”

Winehouse was branded a great talent

The information was seconded by another source from a Camden pub, who said that Winehouse was seen buying cocaine from a well-known dealer in the area.

The Sunday Mirror, in the meantime, received information from friends of the singer that they believe the star died of an adverse reaction to a bad pill, made worse by the large quantity of alcohol she had consumed.

“It was an ecstasy overdose. She could do cocaine until the cows come home. But this was obviously a dodgy pill.”

Winehouse is also known to have suffered from emphysema – a disease affecting the lungs, which causes shortness of breath. A post-mortem is due to be carried out today to determine the exact cause of death. She was found dead at her Camden home yesterday from a suspected drug overdose.

The  singer has become the latest addition to what has come to be known as ‘Club 27’. Musicians including Kurt Cobain, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison and Janis Joplin are among those who also passed away in their 27th year. Almost all these deaths have somehow been linked to drug abuse, alcoholism or suicide.

If only Amy Winehouse stuck to just coffee more often

Although suicide has not been pinned as the likely cause of Winehouse’s death, it is known that she was struggling with her break-up with director Reg Traviss at the time. A much bigger struggle, however, came in the form of drug addiction. Winehouse had had several public meltdowns during her time in the limelight and more than a few stints in rehab.

Fans have been leaving flowers, candles and message outside her North London home since news of the death emerged. They have also been gathering in the singer’s favourite pub – The Hawley Arms. Winehouse was a valued customer and had previously been photographed pouring pints to customers herself.

The pub’s owner told the Independent on Sunday: “She was a special person with a good soul and this should not have happened. We will sorely miss her.”

Winehouse’s management, Metropolis Music, released a statement today saying: “We are trying to come to terms with the death of a dear friend and colleague, the most amazing artist and talent. We will always remember Amy as a vibrant, funny, caring young woman who made everyone around her feel welcome.  We have lost a very special person, part of our family.”

Click here to read about other stars who died too young, including River Phoenix, Ryan Dunn, Heath Ledger, Brittany Murphy and Andy Irons.

Images: Ivo Garcev and petercruise on Flikr

Amy Winehouse found dead in her Camden Town home

Popular British soul singer Amy Winehouse has been found dead in her Camden Town apartment this afternoon. The 27-year-old’s life has been blighted by alcohol and drug abuse but as yet no official cause of death has been given.

As famous for her songs as her shenanigans, Winehouse often courted controversy in her not-so-private private life and was the paparazzi dream thanks to her drunken and bawdy behaviour which often saw her falling about in her home town or on the end of a physical altercation with ex-husband, Blake Fielder-Civil whom she divorced in 2009.

A young Amy Winehouse

The Young Amy Winehouse - before the music industry, media and addiction got their hooks into her.

The Metropolitan Police comfirmed that it was Amy’s body found after receiving a call at 4:05pm utc for help regarding a woman in Camden. Paramedics arrived too late to revive her and she was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police have called her death ‘unexplained’ but not suspicious and speculation in other media groups is that she ingested a lethal dose of drugs and alcohol.

Amy Winehouse smiling

Amy Winehouse seen in better days.

Alarm bells about her well being sounded last month after she stumbled onto the stage at a Serbian performance where she sang the wrong words and upset fans by repeatedly mistaking Belgrade for Athens.

She subsequently withdrew from the rest of the tour citing health issues as the main reason but was since spotted in Camden after that in varying degrees of intoxication.

A statement on her website read, “Amy Winehouse is withdrawing from all scheduled performances. Everyone involved wishes to do everything they can to help her return to her best and she will be given as long as it takes for this to happen.”

Amy Winehouse in her halcyon days

Amy Winehouse: the tattooed singer had the voice of an angel but the will power of a feather.

Friends have been worried about her drinking since she finished treatment in May, with one saying, “She is rattling about at home in north London drinking herself into oblivion. Three times this week she has been so drunk she passed out.”

[adsense]No doubt she will enter the eternal hall of fame and a talented yet tragically wasted life will be remembered alongside such legendary names as Billie Holiday, Kurt Cobain, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison and Janice Joplin.

Other stars who dies too young include River Phoenix, Ryan Dunn, Heath Ledger, Brittany Murphy and Andy Irons.

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Rodney King arrested for DUI but LA remains calm

Rodney King, the man famously beaten by four white police officers on March 3rd, 1991 in Los Angeles after a high speed chase has been making the headlines again for all the wrong reasons. He was arrested last night on suspicion of Driving Under the Influence (DUI) after police observed him commit a number of driving offences.

After a mugshot and lovely orange boiler suit were dispensed King spent the night incarcerated and his bail was set at $2,500.

Rodney King's latest LAPD mugshot

Rodney King arrested again on July 12th for suspected DUI.

It’s not the first time his driving habits have landed him in trouble but at least this time he was not exposed to the same police brutality which ultimately led to the aquittal of the four white LAPD officers and rioting in LA which led to 53 deaths, billions of dollars in collateral damage and 3 days of looting, mugging, murder and a police siege on the city streets.

1992 La Riots cause chaos and death on the city streets

Rodney king's violent treatment led to the 1992 LA Riots.

Prior to the LA riots of April 1992 King had been a frequent arrestee after a string of drug and drink related crimes as well as possession of firearms. Clearly not the brightest individual he never seemed to learn from his mistakes and the events which led to his savage beating at the hands of police officers was also fuelled by his fear that whilst on parole and under the influence he would be sent back to prison.

Ironically that didn’t happen but the barbaric beating he received which left him with severe head trauma and broken limbs was filmed by a local resident whose video was used as evidence in the court case. The officers were found not guilty of police brutality and within hours of the decision black youths began an all out assault on southern Los Angeles.

Rodney King's mugshot from March 1991

Rodney King after four white LAPD officers brutally assaulted him.

King became an icon for black rights and the violence he endured exposed an ugly, racist underbelly to American society which such iconic figures as Malcolm X and Martin Luther King tried so hard to bring to the public’s attention in previous decades.

Though the dust and ashes have long since settled on LA, there is still an uneasiness where King is concerned, for although his plight was a terrible one it is hard to feel sympathy for a man who is incapable of kicking the habits which continually lead him to trouble and he clearly needs a stint at somewhere like the Betty Ford Center to straighten out.

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