Singer's death puts substance abuse in spotlight

1:01 AM, Jul 24, 2011   |    comments
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ST. PETERSBURG, Florida-- From Facebook to Twitter, the social media world was set on fire Saturday with reactions to the death of 5-time grammy winner Amy Winehouse.

Perhaps just as well-known for her battles with drugs and alcohol as her music, Winehouse was found dead in her London home.

Tampa Bay area musician Suzette Jennings, along with her band the Moodswingz, have featured several Winehouse songs on their set list for years.

"They were crowd pleasers.  The band loved playing them.  I'd like to save them until the end of a set, and I'd do them, and the people would just go crazy," Jennings said. "She was one in a million."

Winehouse joins a list of famous names in music that have all died at age 27, including Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, and Kurt Cobain.

"What happens with money and fame is there's a lot of people that tend to be around the individual that aren't necessarily going to hold that individual to the same accountability that say my family or your family would," said John Harden, executive director of the University of Florida and Shands Recovery Center.

As of Saturday night, an official cause of death wasn't known as police continued to investigate.

Last month, Winehouse cancelled her European comeback tour.

Jennings says the singer won't be forgotten.

"I'll do a tribute, probably put a bunch [of songs] together and do a little tribute thing and pay homage to a brilliant artist," she said.

If you are struggling with drugs or alcohol, help can be found by calling (813) 251-HELP.

More resources are also available at www.shands.org/FRC.

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