A study by Mark Bellis and others, conducted at Liverpool John Moores University, looked at North American and European musicians who had performed in any album on a list of "All-Time Top 1000 albums," and found that they were 1.7 times more likely to die at an early age than the rest of us. The survey suggested that this is caused by "high levels of stress in environments where alcohol and drugs are widely available."
In reality, she went to rehab. But, like Billie Holiday before her, she articulated a pain that goes far enough beyond ordinary experience to offer a kind of consolation to anyone who shares any measure of it. Her line, "Tears dry on their own," was so neat that it seemed found rather than planned; as though she had been given a unique understanding of tears.
So it will be that her very death will appear part of her art, and that very number 27 will become the key note of a narrative that is ultimately not so much inevitable as predictable, even derivative. This, too, will be part of the tragedy. As Paul Gambaccini noted tonight, "We've lost 20 years of great records, and Mitch Winehouse has lost a daughter." There are many reflections that it's the fame she enjoyed and endured that destroyed her.