R.I.P. Sinéad O’Connor

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Sinead O'Connor

Legendary singer Sinéad O’Connor has died, according to a report from Irish Times. She was 56. No cause of death has yet been revealed.

A statement from her family reads, “It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our beloved Sinéad.

“Her family and friends are devastated and have requested privacy at this very difficult time.”

Born in Dublin in 1966, O’Connor had a troubled childhood after the separation of her parents at age eight, and spent 18 months at a Magdalene asylum when she was 15, because of shoplifting and truancy. Around this time she began to develop her musical talent, and she’d eventually drop out of school and move to Dublin after forming the band Ton Ton Macoute. Her time in that band attracted the attention of Ensign Records, who signed her shortly thereafter.

O’Connor’s first album was 1987’s The Lion and the Cobra, which featured the hits “Mandinka” and  “I Want Your (Hands on Me)”. The album also yielded O’Connor’s first Grammy nomination for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance. She followed that album with 1990’s I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got, which featured the hit single “Nothing Compares 2 U,” which was written by Prince. The album also featured the single “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” which was remixed by Public Enemy’s Hank Shocklee.

She courted controversy several times throughout her career due to her outspoken views, most famously in 1993 when she tore up a picture of a pope on Saturday Night Live after an a cappella performance of Bob Marley’s “War” in protest of sexual abuse within the Catholic church.

O’Connor also had a troubled personal life, revealing that she had attempted suicide in 1999 after dispute with Irish journalist John Waters—the father of her daughter. In 2007, she announced that she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2003, and spoke openly about her mental health struggles. In 2022, she suffered the tragic loss of her teenage son Shane, and was hospitalized after she had posted a series of troubling social media posts.

Sinéad O’Connor released 10 albums during her lifetime, the most recent being 2014’s I’m Not Bossy, I’m the Boss. In 2021, she released a memoir, Rememberings. She is survived by her three children.

Photo by Man Alive!/Creative Commons (CC BY 2.0)

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