She also had run-ins with the law. In April 2008, Winehouse was cautioned by police for assault after she slapped a man during a raucous night out.
The same year she was investigated by police, although not charged, after a tabloid newspaper published a video that appeared to show her smoking crack cocaine.
In 2010, Winehouse pleaded guilty to assaulting a theater manager who asked her to leave a family Christmas show because she’d had too much to drink. She was given a fine and a warning to stay out of trouble by a judge who praised her for trying to clean up her act.
In May 2007 in Miami, she married music industry hanger-on Blake Fielder-Civil, but the honeymoon was brief. That November, Fielder-Civil was arrested for an attack on a pub manager the year before. Fielder-Civil later pleaded guilty to assaulting barman James King and then offering him 200,000 pounds (US$400,000) to keep quiet about it.
Winehouse stood by “my Blake” throughout his trial, often blowing kisses at him from the court’s public gallery and wearing a heart-shaped pin labeled “Blake” in her hair at concerts. But British newspapers reported extramarital affairs while Fielder-Civil was behind bars.
They divorced in 2009.
Winehouse’s health often appeared fragile. In June 2008 and again in April 2010, she was taken to hospital and treated for injuries after fainting and falling at home.
Her father said she had developed the lung disease emphysema from smoking cigarettes and crack, although her spokeswoman later said Winehouse only had “early signs of what could lead to emphysema.”
She left the hospital to perform at Nelson Mandela’s 90th birthday concert in Hyde Park in June 2008, and at the Glastonbury festival the next day, where she received a rousing reception but scuffled with a member of the crowd. Then it was back to a London clinic for treatment, continuing the cycle of music, excess and recuperation that marked her career.
Her last public appearance came three days before her death, when she briefly joined her goddaughter, singer Dionne Bromfield, on stage at The Roundhouse in Camden, just around the corner from her home.
Despite the years of frustration and disappointment, Winehouse retained a huge body of fans, all hoping she would find her feet again. Some gathered outside her home after her death, laying flowers, comforting each other and taking in the police tape and ambulance that marked the end of her journey.
Winehouse is survived by her parents and an older brother, Alex. Her father, Mitch, who released a jazz album of his own, was in New York when he heard the news of her death and immediately flew back.
Sylvia Hui contributed to this report. Jill Lawless can be reached at http://twitter.com/JillLawless