By Whitney Baker and Imani Brammer

Lady Gaga said it best: “Amy changed pop music forever, I remember knowing there was hope, and feeling not alone because of her.  She lived jazz, she lived the blues.”  With her soulful voice, peculiar demeanor and unruly habits, Amy Winehouse wowed audiences despite sometimes tripping on stage, throwing her shoes at people and struggling to stand up straight.  Her fans still loved her.  Now, with her music still echoing in their ears, they’re left with an all-too-obvious reminder that life is short.

At 3:54 pm on Saturday, July 23, 2011, 27-year-old jazz-influenced soul singer Winehouse was reported dead.  She was found in her London home, and a police source confirms that there were no sign of drugs near her body.  A toxicology report may take weeks to complete, and until then, the cause of her death is unclear.  Even so, Winehouse battled with a long-term — and well-known — drug addiction.  Suspicions are in the air as to whether her addiction to crack cocaine, heroin, alcohol, ecstasy, ketamine and cigarettes may have played a part in her untimely death.  Although she checked into rehabilitation centers at various times throughout her career, she believed that her illness was manic depression rather than alcohol or drug dependency.

As she was off-and-on with checking into rehab, she was similarly off-and-on with her marriage to Blake Fielder-Civil.  With their shared drug abuse and Winehouse’s penchant for adultery and violent, drunken moments, the marriage was severely damaged.  In January 2009, Fielder-Civil divorced Winehouse after she admitted to adultery in court papers.

Her failed marriage may have caused Winehouse to sink deeper into depression.  However, it seems like she tried to reinvigorate her love life through her most recent relationship with Reg Traviss, a film director.  Their love was still going strong as recent as April, but took a downward spiral last month when Traviss ended their relationship. Heartbroken and inconsolable, Winehouse briefly checked into Priory Rehab Clinic in London and then proceeded to cancel her European tour.  Traviss wanted to play a positive role in her life, but realized that he couldn’t make her stand strong against her drunken demons, reported Celebs.

According to Drug Addiction Treatment, Traviss did the right thing:

“… your reasons for leaving must be based on the best interests of all concerned. The decision should come after all other options have been thoroughly explored, and/or you’ve come to the realization that by staying, you’re doing more harm than good — harm to you, your spouse and your family.”

Revealing how important love was to Winehouse, many of her songs were dedicated to her relationships — both the good and bad parts of romance.  For instance, in her ballad “Love is a Losing Game,” she sang about how she lost to love and laments the trouble that it has caused:

“Love is a losing game
One I wish I never played
Oh what a mess we made”

In addition to using her music as an outlet for her pain, Winehouse may have used her drug addiction to wipe away her sorrows and regrets. But can addiction really cure a broken heart?  Perhaps she should’ve looked to love as the ultimate reason to overcome her addiction.  Just as both of these forces made their mark in WInehouse’s life, this uniquely talented artist unequivocally impacted the lives of her fans.  There will surely be a gaping hole in the world of music.

Sadly, with her early and unexpected death, Winehouse joins the 27 Club, an ironic club of deceased, influential rock artists who died at age 27, generally with some sort of controversy surrounding their death.  Winehouse was aware of this group, also known as the Forever 27 Club or Club 27, and sometimes referenced its existence in interviews.  Now, her name will be remembered along side legends like Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Kurt Cobain.  May their souls rest in peace.

In light of Winehouse’s death, what celebrity passing has most affected you and why? Share your thoughts below.