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Inquest opens into Amy Winehouse's death

Father Mitch Winehouse, brother Alex, former boyfriend Reg Traviss and mother Janis look at look at memorabilia left by fans of Amy Winehous
Father Mitch Winehouse, brother Alex, former boyfriend Reg Traviss and mother Janis look at look at memorabilia left by fans of Amy Winehous

By Clare Kane

LONDON (Reuters) - An inquest into the death of Amy Winehouse was opened and adjourned on Monday ahead of a post mortem examination which will try to determine the cause of the British singer's death that police have so far described as "unexplained."

Earlier, the parents of Winehouse visited an expanding shrine outside the 27-year-old's London home where she was found dead on Saturday afternoon.

Surrounded by television crews and well-wishers, her father Mitch read the dozens of condolence messages and walked along banks of teddy bears, flowers, and the occasional bottle of vodka left by fans of the troubled singer.

"Thank you for coming," he told the fans. "It means so much to me and my family."

As sales of Winehouse's music soared and speculation swirled about the release of a possible posthumous album, a somber mood hung over the north London square where Winehouse lived. Fans from as far afield as Colombia, Mexico, Italy and Spain streamed past the impromptu shrine, some of them unable to hold back tears.

Winehouse's battle with alcohol and drugs was well-documented, most famously in the track "Rehab," in which she sang, "They tried to make me go to rehab but I said no, no, no."

She slid from being a chirpy teenage singer from a London Jewish family to someone who could barely walk at her final concert performance in Serbia.

The beehive-haired soul singer won critical acclaim after the release of her debut album "Frank" in 2003 before becoming a worldwide phenomenon with the success of "Back to Black."

The Sun newspaper said Winehouse was found dead in her bed at around 1500 GMT on Saturday, some six hours after she had last phoned her management team.

Her death has sparked a surge in demand for her music. British music retailer HMV predicted on Monday that she would be number one next week as sales of "Back to Black," which won five Grammys, continue to grow.

The company said many people had downloaded the album online but many would want to buy CDs to feel a "more tangible and closer connection with Amy."

"It's something that we tend to see when any great music legend or rock star passes," said HMV spokesman Gennaro Castaldo.

The Daily Telegraph newspaper reported on Monday that material recorded before Winehouse's death could be released as a posthumous album, citing sources who said Winehouse had recorded "a lot of material" and that her parents would have the final say on whether a new album is to be released.

Winehouse's spokesman told Reuters there was no confirmation of the release of a third album. "I know there's material about, but no one's talked about it," he said.

The inquest will resume in October.

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