Amy Winehouse is the latest high-profile member of the '27 Club' of musicians who all died at that age after struggling to cope with fame.
Members of the so-called club include Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison and Brian Jones.
Journalist and author Charles R Cross, who has written biographies about Kurt Cobain and Jimi Hendrix, said the number of musicians who died at 27 is "truly remarkable".
Some argue the notion of a 27 Club glamourises death by excess.
British singer-songwriter Billy Bragg claimed that a meaningful commonality was being mistaken for coincidence.
"It's not age that Hendrix, Jones, Joplin, Morrison, Cobain & Amy have in common," wrote Bragg on Twitter. "It's drug abuse, sadly."
It's a term, sometimes called the 'Forever 27 Club', that has spawned a Wikipedia entry, a 2008 movie (The 27 Club), numerous websites and at least one book (The 27s: The Greatest Myth of Rock & Roll).
In 2007, Amy's father Mitch Winehouse wrote a eulogy for his daughter after one of her well-publicised alcohol and drug binges.
He said: "I know newspapers have obituaries ready for people. Well, I'd written one.
"The doctors told us even a whiff of another drug could kill her."
Ms Winehouse's cause of death has not yet been established. A post-mortem is due today.
Brian Jones died on July 3, 1969, aged 27 years.
The Rolling Stones founder drowned in a swimming pool at Cotchford Farm. A coroner recorded his passing as "death by misadventure".
Jimi Hendrix died on September 18, 1970, aged 27 years.
He is widely regarded as the finest and most influential electric guitar player of all time. He died by choking on his vomit after combining sleeping tablets with alcohol.
He once said: "I will be dead in five years' time, but while I am here, I will travel many highways and I will, of necessity, die at a time when my message of love, peace, and freedom can be shared with people all over the world."
Janis Joplin died on October 4, 1970, aged 27 years.
She found fame in the 60s with Big Brother and the Holding Company. She died of a heroin overdose a few weeks after Jimi Hendrix died.
Jim Morrison died on July 3, 1971, aged 27 years.
The Doors front man died of heart failure in a bath in the Paris apartment where he was living at the time.
Kurt Cobain died on April 5, 1994, aged 27 years.
The lead singer and guitar player for Seattle grunge band Nirvana took his own life with a shotgun.