The singer's lungs are "all gunked up" from smoking crack and cigarettes, her father says

By People Staff
June 22, 2008 03:15 PM

Amy Winehouse, who has been hospitalized and undergoing tests after collapsing, is suffering the early stages of emphysema, her father says – later adding, “She’s responding brilliantly to treatment.”

“With smoking the crack cocaine and the cigarettes her lungs are all gunked up,” Mitch Winehouse tells Britain’s Sunday Mirror. “There are nodules around the chest and dark marks. She’s got 70 percent lung capacity.”

The troubled singer, 24, was rushed to the hospital June 16 after fainting in her London home. Tests so far have ruled out tuberculosis, but her father says his daughter has serious health problems.

“When we got to the hospital a room was ready,” Mitch Winehouse tells the newspaper. “Several doctors came in and checked to make sure she didn’t need any emergency treatment. They put her on a drip straight away because she was dehydrated. She said, ‘Don’t worry about me, dad. I know I’ve got to stop taking drugs now.'”

Winehouse had been awake for 48 hours before going to the hospital, her father says. After she was admitted, she “curled up in bed” and slept for three straight days, he says.

“She’s got emphysema,” he says. “It’s in its early stages, but had it gone on for another month they painted a very vivid picture of her sitting there like an old person with a mask on her face struggling to breathe.”

Speaking on BBC Radio 1 Monday, the elder Winehouse clarified and amplified some of his earlier remarks. He said, “Amy really hasn’t got emphysema. There’s traces of emphysema. Obviously, if she doesn’t quit smoking it’s gonna get worse – as with everybody else.”

He said his daughter understands her condition. In terms of treatment, he said, “She’s smothered in nicotine patches. She’s responding brilliantly to treatment. She’s actually flourishing.”

He added, “She really wants to do the gigs at the weekend, and with the doctors’ permission – and they’ve given that permission – she’s gonna perform.”

Dr. Keith Prowse, chairman of the British Lung Foundation, said Winehouse is very young to have developed the condition and that genetics are likely playing a role.

“Emphysema is extremely common but it generally affects middle-aged and elderly people,” said Prowse, the British Press Association reports. “Smoking is the commonest cause, and it’s basically destruction of the lungs so that oxygen cannot get into them.”