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Amy Winehouse's best friend talks about her death for the first time

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Amy Winehouse's best friend is opening up about the singer's tragic death for the first time. "I was running out of ideas," Tyler James, 39, says about his struggles to help the Back to Black singer overcome her alcohol addiction and long-term bulimia at the home they shared in Camden, London. Speaking to The Times to publicize his new book My Amy: The Life We Shared, James reveals that he left the home two days before Winehouse's death following an argument with her, in the hope that it would shock the singer into curbing her binge drinking. The following day she left a message on his cell, saying, "You all right, darlin'? T, please come home." Tragically, he returned to find an ambulance parked outside the building and a paramedic in the hallway. Upstairs, Winehouse lay dead in her bedroom. A coroner later confirmed the cause of death as alcohol toxicity. She was just 27.

"Amy was my world," James, who first met Winehouse aged 13, tells The Times. "I never have had that connection with someone again and I never will. I loved her. I was on a mission. I had a task. I had a job [to make her well] and that's all I wanted to do." "I want people to please, please recognize how hard she had worked to come off drugs and just how close she was to [giving up alcohol] for good, how close she was to being healthy," he continues. "Amy was a girl in her twenties suffering from addiction, and everybody was a part of it. Everybody was watching it. When you go to rehab, you have to be the strongest you've ever been in your life, when you are the weakest you've ever been in your life. And she had to go through that in front of people," James explains.

"I want people to understand how hard that was for her. I want people to know what it was, to stop seeing her as this doomed person." James says the scene outside the home in the immediate aftermath of Winehouse's death was "like a film premiere," as fans and media descended on a grassy square opposite to hold a candlelight vigil around a makeshift shrine to the singer.

"I wanted to tell what it was like for her, having to actually live in that world," James tells The Times about his reasons for writing My Amy. "With that level of fame, that level of intrusion, that lack of privacy. I don't think people really realize the effect that has on a person. She craved normality. The biggest thing that f----ed Amy up was being famous." James continues, "Amy went through a lot. It was hard for her. It was a different time back then. If you were famous, you could be hounded. They didn't care how that affected your mental health, or if it was making your addiction worse or sending you off your rocker. I don't think that would happen today.


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R.I.P. Legend this is so sad

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