Winehouse's publicist clarifies health issue

Says singer's condition is not full-blown emphysema

LONDON -- A discrepancy regarding the health of Amy Winehouse arose after the singer's father said she had early stage emphysema brought on by smoking crack cocaine and cigarettes.

A publicist for Winehouse later said he had misspoken "out of his concern for her."

"She is not diagnosed with full-blown emphysema, but instead has early signs of what could lead to emphysema," Tracey Miller, her U.S.-based representative, told the Associated Press on Monday.

In an interview published Sunday by the Daily Mail of London, Mitch Winehouse said that his daughter's crack and cigarette smoking had led to early-stage emphysema, and that the singer had an irregular heartbeat. He said she had been warned that she will have to wear an oxygen mask unless she stops smoking drugs.

"The doctors have told her if she goes back to smoking drugs, it won't just ruin her voice, it will kill her," Mitch Winehouse was quoted as saying. "There are nodules around the chest and dark marks. She has 70% lung capacity."

However, in an interview later with BBC Radio 1, he appeared to downplay his dire statements, and said: "Amy really hasn't got emphysema, there's traces of emphysema. Obviously, if she doesn't quit smoking, it's going to get worse, like everyone else ... with patience her lungs will recover completely."

He added that she was covered in nicotine patches and is "flourishing" in response to treatments.

Emphysema is a lung disease caused primarily by smoking. It takes years to develop and is mostly seen in people over 45.

The 24-year-old singer collapsed at her north London home Monday after signing autographs for a group of fans and was taken to a London hospital for tests. She remained there all week.

She is still scheduled to sing at a concert in London on Friday celebrating the 90th birthday of Nelson Mandela and plans to take part in the Glastonbury music festival the following day.

Mitch Winehouse said it would be good for his daughter to perform.

"When she's been inactive work-wise then that's when the problems really start. The doctors have said that medically there isn't any reason why she can't do Glastonbury," the paper quoted him as saying.

He also pleaded with her drug-taking friends to stay away from her.

"What hope does she have if people are taking drugs around her," he said.

Miller said Winehouse still has hopes to perform at the Mandela concert.
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