Winehouse was last seen by her live-in security guard, Andrew Morris, who said he had heard her laughing and listening to music the night before she died.
He said he knew she had resumed drinking, but did not notice anything unusual until he found that she had stopped breathing in bed the next afternoon.
“She did it moderately … she wasn’t drinking to get drunk,” Mr. Morris told the coroner’s court.
Dr. Joseph Feldman, chief of emergency services at Hackensack University Medical Center, New Jersey, said Winehouse likely developed tolerance to larger quantities of alcohol than one would expect after drinking heavily for years. He also said the sedative Winehouse was on, Librium, wouldn’t have stopped someone from having seizures if they were in alcohol withdrawal.
“It’s easier to withdraw from heroin than it is from alcohol … withdrawal [from alcohol] can cause anxiety, tremors, hallucinations, the sensation of things crawling all over you,” he said.
He said those symptoms sometimes push people back to alcohol, which can result in poisoning.
“It’s possible she could have been saved if she had been found (or treated) earlier,” he said. “A lot of treatment is supportive care, like IV fluids and making sure they don’t vomit.”
The singer’s parents attended the hearing Wednesday but did not speak to reporters. In a statement, Winehouse family spokesman Chris Goodman said it was a relief to the family “to finally find out what happened to Amy.”
“The court heard that Amy was battling hard to conquer her problems with alcohol, and it is a source of great pain to us that she could not win in time,” he said.
Winehouse’s breakthrough “Back to Black” album, released in 2006, was recently certified as the best-selling disc in Britain so far during the 21st century. The updated take on old-time soul also earned her five Grammy Awards.
Although the singer was adored by fans worldwide for her unique voice and style, praise for her singing was often eclipsed by lurid headlines about her destructive relationships and erratic behavior.
In June, the singer abruptly canceled her entire European comeback tour after she swayed and slurred her way through barely recognizable songs in her first show in the Serbian capital, Belgrade. She was booed and jeered off stage and had to return to Britain to recover.
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, near her home.
Associated Press Medical Writer Maria Cheng contributed to this report.