Singer Sinead O’Connor Dies at Age 56: Family

Singer Sinead O’Connor Dies at Age 56: Family
Singer Sinead O'Connor performs on stage at the State Theatre in Sydney, Australia, on March 18, 2008. (Gaye Gerard/Getty Images)

Irish singer Sinead O’Connor has died at the age of 56, her family said in a brief statement issued on Wednesday.

“It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our beloved Sinead,” the statement said, according to several Irish news outlets. “Her family and friends are devastated and have requested privacy at this very difficult time.” Her family’s statement did not elaborate on the cause or manner of her death.

In a Twitter post, Irish Taoiseach (head of government) Leo Varadkar wrote that he was “really sorry to hear” of her death.

“Her music was loved around the world, and her talent was unmatched and beyond compare. Condolences to her family, her friends and all who loved her music. Ar dheis Dé go Raibh a hAnam,” Mr. Varadkar added.

A number of other music industry figures also responded to her death on social media on Wednesday.

Ms. O’Connor, who frequently spoke about mental health problems on social media, recently wrote on Facebook that she moved back to London after 23 years and would be finishing an album for 2024. She also said she would tour New Zealand and Australia next year, as well as the United States, Europe, and other areas in 2025.

Her son, Shane, reportedly killed himself after escaping a hospital while on suicide watch in January 2022. Ms. O’Connor posted on Twitter at the time: “The very light of my life, decided to end his earthly struggle today and is now with God. May he rest in peace and may no one follow his example. My baby, I love you so much. Please be at peace.”

Ms. O’Connor converted to Islam in 2018 and officially changed her name to Shuhada Sadaqat. However, she continued to perform under the name Sinead O’Connor.


Ms. O’Connor was born on Dec. 8, 1966. She had a difficult childhood, with a mother whom she alleged was abusive and encouraged her to shoplift. As a teenager, she spent time in a church-sponsored institution for girls, where she said she washed priests’ clothes for no wages. But a nun gave Ms. O’Connor her first guitar, and soon she sang and performed on the streets of Dublin, her influences ranging from Bob Dylan to Siouxsie and the Banshees.

The singer is best known for topping the charts worldwide with the 1990 song “Nothing Compares 2 U,” a version of the song originally written by Prince. A video of that song, featuring her facing directly into the camera for the music video, has subsequently been viewed almost 400 million times on YouTube. The singer released 10 studio albums overall.

Also known for her shaved head and outspoken views on religion, war, and other topics, Ms. O’Connor is perhaps best known for tearing up a photo of Pope John Paul II during a television appearance on “Saturday Night Live” in the 1990s.

Days later, she appeared at an all-star tribute for Mr. Dylan at Madison Square Garden and was immediately booed. She was supposed to sing Mr. Dylan’s “I Believe in You” but switched to a cappella version of Bob Marley’s “War,” which she had sung on “Saturday Night Live.”

Although consoled and encouraged on stage by her friend Kris Kristofferson, she left and broke down, and her performance was kept off the concert CD. (Years later, Mr. Kristofferson recorded “Sister Sinead,” for which he wrote, “And maybe she’s crazy and maybe she ain’t/But so was Picasso and so were the saints.”)

She also feuded with Frank Sinatra over her refusal to allow the playing of “The Star-Spangled Banner” at one of her shows and accused Prince of physically threatening her. In 1989, she declared her support for the Irish Republican Army, a statement she retracted a year later. Around the same time, she skipped the Grammy ceremony, saying it was too commercialized.

“I suppose I’ve got to say that music saved me,” she said in an interview with The Independent newspaper in 2013. “I didn’t have any other abilities, and there was no learning support for girls like me, not in Ireland at that time. It was either jail or music. I got lucky.”

Ms. O’Connor’s other musical credits included the albums “Universal Mother” and “Faith and Courage,” a cover of Cole Porter’s “You Do Something to Me” from the fundraising album “Red Hot + Blue” and backing vocals on Peter Gabriel’s “Blood of Eden.” She received eight Grammy nominations overall and, in 1991, won for best alternative musical performance.

Ms. O’Connor announced she was retiring from music in 2003 but continued to record new material. Her most recent album was “I’m Not Bossy, I’m the Boss,” released in 2014, and she sang the theme song for Season 7 of “Outlander.”

Ms. O’Connor is survived by her three children.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

From The Epoch Times

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