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Family of singer Amy Winehouse: Give us space to grieve

(JTA) — The family of troubled singing star Amy WInehouse, who was found dead in her London home, has asked for privacy to grieve.

Winehouse, 27, a five-time Grammy winner who was admired by music critics and beloved by celebrities, was plagued by drug and alcohol addiction, but officials at this point are saying her death is "unexplained." An autopsy to determine the cause will be performed early this week. She was found in her apartment on Saturday.

"Our family has been left bereft by the loss of Amy, a wonderful daughter, sister, niece," read a statement from the family. "She leaves a gaping hole in our lives. We are coming together to remember her and we would appreciate some privacy and space at this terrible time."

Winehouse’s father, Mitch, returned to London immediately from New York, where he was performing.

“The bad girl with the pin-up tattoos, soul style and Marilyn Monroe mole piercing was born to Mitchell and Janis, a Jewish couple in north London,” according to a report in Moment Magazine. “Not everyone is surprised to hear that Winehouse is Jewish. Referencing her Semitic-looking visage, Sarah Silverman once quipped, ‘She is Jewish, right? If she isn’t, someone should tell her face.’”

Writing earlier this year for the online magazine Tablet, Dvorah Meyers asserted that the singer’s “unrepentant behavior … signals Winehouse’s place in a very different line of Jewish women — not the ‘nice’ ones who make you chicken soup when you’re sick or assure their sons that they’re the smartest boys in the world and any woman would be lucky to marry them.”

Instead, Meyers wrote, “Winehouse’s ancestors are the biblical vixens: Dina, who slept with Shechem; Deborah, the biblical heroine; or, more recently, Monica Lewinsky, the ‘portly pepperpot’ (as the New York Post dubbed her) who nearly ended Bill Clinton’s presidency.”

In January 2009, with hostilities raging between Israeli and Hamas forces, Winehouse was one of several prominent Jewish figures identified by an Islamic extremist website as potential targets for "reprisal" attacks.

Winehouse was booed off the stage during a comeback performance in Serbia last month after staggering around.

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