Friends, family say goodbye to Amy Winehouse
LONDON (AP) - Wearing dark suits, black dresses and the occasional beehive hairdo, friends and family said goodbye to Amy Winehouse Tuesday with prayers, tears, laughter and song at an emotional funeral ceremony.
The singer's father, mother and brother were joined by Winehouse's close friends, band members and celebrities including producer Mark Ronson for the service at Edgwarebury Cemetery in north London. Media personality Kelly Osbourne was one of several women to wear her hair piled beehive-high in an echo of the singer's trademark style.
Fans and photographers thronged the lane outside, but the funeral was for several hundred friends and family only.
The Jewish service was led by a rabbi and included prayers in English and Hebrew and reminiscences from Winehouse's father, Mitch Winehouse.
The cab driver and jazz singer, who helped foster his daughter's love of music, ended his eulogy with the words "Goodnight, my angel, sleep tight. Mummy and Daddy love you ever so much."
It ended with a rendition of Carole King's "So Far Away," one of Winehouse's favorite songs.
"Mitch was funny, he told some great stories from childhood about how headstrong she was, and clearly the family and friends recognized the stories and laughed along," said family spokesman Chris Goodman.
"He stressed so many times she was happier now than she had ever been and he spoke about her boyfriend and paid tribute to a lot of people in her life."
According to the Press Association news agency, Mitch Winehouse said during the ceremony that his daughter was trying to overcome her addictions, having told him: "Dad I've had enough, I can't stand the look on your and the family's faces anymore."
He said he planned to set up a foundation in his daughter's name to help people struggling with addiction.
"Knowing she wasn't depressed ... knowing she passed away happy, it makes us all feel better," he said.
Family friend Alfie Ezekiel, 55, said the service had been a "joyful" celebration of the singer's life.
"Mitch gave a very good eulogy and he managed to get through it very well, considering," he said.
Close family and friends - including Winehouse's recent boyfriend, Reg Traviss - moved on to Golders Green Crematorium, where the singer was cremated.
Several mourners, including Ronson - who co-produced Winehouse's breakthrough album "Back to Black" - looked emotional as they left the red brick structure, which has seen the cremations of thousands of ordinary Londoners and many celebrities, including psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud, comedian Peter Sellers and drummer Keith Moon of The Who.
The family was then due to hold two days of shiva, a Jewish traditional period of mourning.
The soul diva, who had battled alcohol and drug addiction, was found dead Saturday at her London home. She was 27.
An autopsy held Monday failed to determine what caused her death. Police are awaiting the results of toxicology tests, which will take two to four weeks.
On Monday the singer's father, mother and brother visited the house where she died, thanking mourners who had left flowers and cards.
Mitch Winehouse said "Amy was about one thing and that was love."
"Her whole life was devoted to her family and her friends and to you guys as well," he told fans.
Winehouse released only two albums in her short career - winning five Grammy awards for "Back to Black" - and often made headlines because of drug and alcohol abuse, eating disorders, destructive relationships and abortive performances.
Since her death, her records have re-entered album charts around the world, and tributes have poured in from fans and fellow musicians.
George Michael called her "the most soulful vocalist this country has ever seen," and soul singer Adele said she "paved the way for artists like me and made people excited about British music again."