have to disagree with the view Amy Winehouse
was at her peak when she died in 2011. Sadly alcohol and drugs had taken her toll upto then and in her final years she was more infamous, for her shambolic live performances under the influence behaviour. I agree she had a lot more to give, but for me the circa-2006 Amy was her at her peak....5 years before she died. This is the Amy i prefer to remember
Similarly Freddie Mercury.
His best work was late 70s and very early 80s. After 'Hot Space' I think Queen declined critically (most Queen fans put their mid to late 80s albums to the bottom end of the 'best' albums list), and from the mid 80s their US sales dried up, again I think Freddie had a lot more to give but he peaked just over a decade before he died IMO.
Then again I do recall interviews in which he said 'Barcelona' (his 1988 solo album) was the record he always wanted to make. Even if that album wasn't commercially/critically successful as his Queen work, from his point of view he would probably say he went out not long after reaching his personal peak
Would agree with Heath Ledger and Kurt Cobain though
You make valid points regarding Amy Winehouse and Freddie Mercury .... but then you negate it by mentioning Kurt Cobain.
In the last months of his life Kurt Cobain was spiralling as fast as an express train towards the end of his mortal coil.
From July 1993 Courtney Love or other within the entourage were regularly injecting Kurt with Narcan to bring him out of a semi unconscious/drugged up state so he was fit enough to perform on their US tour.
The band reconvened for three weeks in January 1994 for a songwriting/recording session for tracks for their 4th album, but Kurt was not in the right creative mind to be of much benefit with only the unfocussed intense "You Know You're Right" surviving those sessions.
His increasing Heroin intake was rapidly breaking his immune system down so by March 1994 he was diagnosed with bronchitis and severe laryngitis. Whilst in Rome he took as a substitute for Heroin a combination of champagne and Rohypnol resulting in him OD'ing. There is speculation to this day that this event left him brain damaged.
After flying back to the USA with Nirvana's US tour aborted Kurt was admitted to Exodus Recovery Center in Los Angeles, California on March 30, 1994 to detox. But a day or so later he jumped over the six foot fence and went back to Seattle where he was found dead a week later.