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“She seemed out of it. But her passing so suddenly still hasn’t hit me,” Janis Winehouse was quoted as saying by the tabloid.

Police said the cause of her death is being treated as “unexplained,” rejecting speculation that she died from a drug overdose as “inappropriate.” The circumstances surrounding her death are not yet clear, but police said a post-mortem is expected Monday or Tuesday.

“Our family has been left bereft by the loss of Amy, a wonderful daughter, sister, niece. She leaves a gaping hole in our lives,” the family of the “Back to Black” singer said in a statement.

Actor Russell Brand, a former drug addict, wrote a lengthy tribute to Miss Winehouse, urging the media and public to change the way addiction is perceived — “not as a crime or a romantic affectation, but as a disease that will kill.”

Winehouse and I shared an affliction, the disease of addiction,” he wrote. “Addiction is a serious disease; it will end with jail, mental institutions or death.”

Others, like American singer Carole King, whose song “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” was covered by Miss Winehouse, recalled her small, but powerful body of recorded music.

“She did such a beautiful performance on it,” Ms. King told the BBC, saying that she was grateful to the late singer for the recording. “I just really hope that she’s found peace now, wherever she is.”

What’s particular about Miss Winehouse’s style of rock ‘n’ roll excess is that it was chronicled thoroughly by the tabloids and news media and was eagerly consumed by readers.

High-quality photographs captured her poor health, the scabs on her face and marks on her arms. Videos of her landed on the Internet, like one that showed her and Babyshambles singer Pete Doherty playing with newborn mice. Another showed her singing a racist ditty to the tune of a children’s song. One, published by a tabloid newspaper, appeared to show her smoking crack cocaine.

Her run-ins with the law — she was cautioned by the police in 2008 for assault and in 2010 pleaded guilty to assaulting a theater manager who asked her to leave a family Christmas show because she’d had too much to drink — found headlines. So did her romances, such as her brief marriage in 2007 to music industry hanger-on Blake Fielder-Civil.

Rarely, though, were Miss Winehouse’s troubles romantic or appealing. Though a thoroughly captivating presence — all beehive and tattoos and candor — Miss Winehouse always cut a desperate figure. Her struggles with substances and bipolar disorder (she said she declined to take medication for it) were painfully evident.

In death, her famous boast of “no, no, no” to rehab only sounds empty. The hard truths of addiction don’t fit neatly into pop tunes — or morbid 27 Clubs — but play out over years of toil.

Early death typically mythologizes pop stars, inflating their reputation. Pop culture writer Chuck Klosterman, in his book “Killing Yourself to Live,” wondered why “the greatest career move any musician can make is to stop breathing.”

The posthumous releases from Miss Winehouse will surely follow.