AMY Winehouse will go down in the annals of culture as a great popular singer, surely one of the greatest. She had a voice of exceptional power and beauty. Her work as a songwriter was an innovative mixture of soul and jazz, with lyrics of real quality.
Her death at 27 is immensely sad. But it cannot rightly be called tragic because it was so widely expected. Her mother Janis summed it up: "It was only a matter of time."
The signs of self-destructiveness had proliferated for years, in her turbulent personal life and in her work. At worst, she alienated her faithful fans by turning up drunk or having taken crack cocaine, and forgetting her lyrics.
It was startling then to see a star booed off the stage, and it is pathetic now to think that she is remembered in that way.
She was a victim of her own celebrity, and a victim of her addictions, which no treatment, and no loving help from family and friends, could cure.
Ordinary folk who suffer likewise can at least seek help in private. Amy Winehouse died, as she lived, under the greedy public eye.