Next month (July 23, to be exact) marks the two-year anniversary of Amy Winehouse's death at age 27. And while the British "Rehab" singer's long struggle alcohol and drugs was well known, her brother, Alex Winehouse, says that he ultimately blames an eating disorder, bulimia, for her early demise.
Speaking to British paper The Guardian -- as a new photographic exhibit opens at London's Jewish Museum chronicling his sister's storied life, including her early years, called Amy Winehouse: A Family Portrait -- Alex reveals that his sibling developed bulimia at age 17, before she became famous. The future superstar fell into the habit with a group of other young girls who were all doing it," he said. "They'd put loads of rich sauces on their food, scarf it down and throw it up."
Although young Amy's friends gave up the dangerous habit, Alex explained, "Amy never really did… We all knew she was doing it, but it's almost impossible [to tackle] especially if you're not talking about it. It's a real dark, dark issue."
He continued of the frequently pale, frail-looking soul singer: "She suffered from bulimia very badly. That's not, like, a revelation – you knew just by looking at her . . . She would have died eventually, the way she was going, but what really killed her was the bulimia… Absolutely terrible."
Although she was found dead of alcohol poisoning, her grieving brother explained that the bulimia "left her weaker and more susceptible," he said. "Had she not had an eating disorder, she would have been physically stronger."
In the Guardian interview, Alex insists that his sister never craved celebrity-dom or media attention. "All she wanted to be was a singer and have a good career and that was it really. It [the attention] was slightly out of whack with what she was," he said. "She won the Brit in 2007 and no one knew who she was before that. I remember bumping into her on the tube once and she was on her own. Then, all of a sudden, that was it. In the space of one evening she'd gone from being able to do whatever she wanted to not being able to do that ever again."
Alex and his family remain extremely moved by the outpouring of public grief even two years after Amy's death. "Obviously, she touched something in a lot of people . . . It was incredible."
This article originally appeared on Usmagazine.com: Amy Winehouse's Brother Alex Says Bulimia Killed Her, Not Drugs, Alcohol