Amy Winehouse: Russell Brand pays blog tribute to star

Russell Brand and Amy Winehouse
Russell Brand is pictured with the singer at the Q Awards in 2006

Russell Brand has written an emotional blog post about Amy Winehouse in which he describes the difficulties of living with addiction.

The comedian, 36, who also struggled with a drug problem, details what he calls the "disease of addiction".

The letter charts his relationship with the singer from their first meeting in Camden to the time he saw her perform and realised she was a "genius".

"I saw Amy on stage with Weller and his band; and then the awe," he wrote.

"The awe that envelops when witnessing a genius."

The singer, 27, was found dead at her home in north London on Saturday by a member of her security team.

Brand, who has spoken openly about using drugs in the past, says that when he first met Amy she was described to him as a jazz singer, but at the time he was more concerned about his own problems.

"I was myself at that time barely out of rehab and was thirstily seeking less complicated women so I barely reflected on the now glaringly obvious fact that Winehouse and I shared an affliction, the disease of addiction," he said.

'Air of elsewhere'

He goes on to describe the difficulty of communicating with someone who has an addiction.

"All addicts, regardless of the substance or their social status share a consistent and obvious symptom; they're not quite present when you talk to them. They communicate to you through a barely discernible but un-ignorable veil."

He added: "They have about them the air of elsewhere, that they're looking through you to somewhere else they'd rather be.

"And of course they are. The priority of any addict is to anaesthetise the pain of living to ease the passage of the day with some purchased relief."

Finding help

He also details the public preoccupation with Amy's personal problems and reflects on how he found help to overcome his addiction.

"In the public perception this ephemeral tittle-tattle replaced her timeless talent. This and her manner in our occasional meetings brought home to me the severity of her condition," he said.

"Addiction is a serious disease; it will end with jail, mental institutions or death.

"I was 27 years old when through the friendship and help of Chip Somers of the treatment centre, Focus12 I found recovery, through Focus I was introduced to support fellowships for alcoholics and drug addicts which are very easy to find and open to anybody with a desire to stop drinking and without which I would not be alive."

Finally he calls for a change in the way society deals with those who are struggling with addiction.

"Whether this tragedy was preventable or not is now irrelevant. It is not preventable today. We have lost a beautiful and talented woman to this disease," he said.

"All we can do is adapt the way we view this condition, not as a crime or a romantic affectation but as a disease that will kill. We need to review the way society treats addicts, not as criminals but as sick people in need of care."