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Mitch Winehouse on losing Amy: 'You take every day as it comes'

By Nicki Gostin, Special to CNN
July 10, 2012 -- Updated 1352 GMT (2152 HKT)
Mitch and Amy Winehouse awaiting news in London of her Grammy Award for the 50th Grammy Awards in 2008.
Mitch and Amy Winehouse awaiting news in London of her Grammy Award for the 50th Grammy Awards in 2008.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Amy Winehouse's father, Mitch, has written a book about her
  • He says her last album took a lot out of her emotionally
  • This month marks the one-year anniversary of her death

(CNN) -- It was a year ago this month that British singer Amy Winehouse died of alcohol poisoning at 27.

The "Back to Black" singer had a very close relationship with her father, Mitch, and he recently released a book, "Amy, My Daughter."

It is a bracingly honest account of Amy's problems with heroin, alcohol and men. But it's not all gloomy. The book is also an intimate and tender account of his daughter, who he says was cheeky, funny and a good, but troubled, soul. The elder Winehouse, a London taxi driver and sometime jazz singer, recently spoke to CNN about his only daughter.

Winehouse: Amy was strong, not fragile

CNN: Why did you write this book?

Amy Winehouse Foundation helps the young

Mitch Winehouse: First of all, I felt that the book would help me with my recovery, and then there were lots of misconceptions about Amy after she passed away, so I wanted to set the record straight. I wanted people to see who the real Amy was, what a lovely girl she was. Also we have set up a foundation in the U.S and the UK, and we needed the money. A great way of raising money was to write a book. All the author proceeds go to the foundation.

CNN: It must have been very difficult for you to write.

Winehouse: Writing the book wasn't too difficult actually. I was kind of in the zone, but when I had to read it back for the edits, that was really tough. That was more difficult than writing the book.

CNN: What do you want people to know about Amy?

Winehouse: Certainly what a great wit she had, how funny she was, how generous she was. People still think she died of an overdose or that she committed suicide. I want people to know she had quit drugs for three years, that's important to me.

CNN: You really get a sense from reading your book how hard it is to deal with loved ones struggling with addiction.

Winehouse: I pretended to have heart attacks just to shock her, nothing worked until she was ready to quit. When she was ready, she told me and she quit in December 2008. She was clean from drugs for nearly three years.

CNN: In the end, it was the alcohol that got her.

Winehouse: Often one addiction can follow another.

She was dealing with that. The last six weeks of her life she was abstinent. That's even more difficult to deal with. That's a typical pattern of someone moving toward total abstinence. She was on the course for full recovery.

Alcohol will get you quicker than heroin. People think because it's socially acceptable, it's safe. What it does to people is just incredible.

CNN: They say time heals all wounds, but I don't think that's true when you lose a child.

Winehouse: It's pretty much like being a drug addict. You take every day as it comes. You're in recovery. You're never fully recovered. After a reasonable amount of time, you're able to function like everybody else, but of course you'll never fully recover from something like that. It's impossible.

CNN: Does it make you sad that she only released two albums?

Winehouse: I'm really not that displeased she didn't write any more albums. It might sound a ridiculous thing to say.

The last album particularly took a lot out of her emotionally, every song was autobiographical, dragged from her soul, and I wouldn't want her to have made more albums like that because she would have been in constant turmoil. I'm pleased that she didn't write more albums like that actually.

CNN: She had a tattoo that read "Daddy's Little Girl."

Winehouse: We had a great relationship. She had a great relationship with her mum and my wife and her brother and all her uncles and aunts. She was just a wonderful family girl. We miss her greatly. I want people to understand that she was just a normal girl who had an extraordinary talent.

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