With others, very sorry for your loss.
As far as your winch goes, I'm going to just guess and say that the interior pawls and springs have gone. A winch consists of a few gears and the pawls/springs.
Most likely the pawls/springs are just broken. Muck cheaper than a new/used winch.
I'm sure others will chime on this problem, but please, keep asking us these questions, lots of us here on this list will be more than willing to help.
1986 Starwind 19
1974 Mutineer 15