Tributes to Irish pop icon Sinead O'connor who died aged 56 - just 18 months after beloved son Shane's death

27 July 2023, 01:00 | Updated: 27 July 2023, 14:33

Sinead O’Connor has died aged 56
Sinead O’Connor has died aged 56. Picture: Alamy/Twitter

By Jenny Medlicott

Tributes from around the world have poured in for Irish singer Sinead O’Connor after it was announced she has died aged 56.

It was announced by the singer's family on Wednesday that Sinead O’Connor has died aged 56.

Tributes have poured in after the news of her death emerged as stars and fans share their memories of the beloved star.

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said: “Really sorry to hear of the passing of Sinéad O’Connor. Her music was loved around the world and her talent was unmatched and beyond compare.”

While Irish mixed martial arts star Conor McGregor wrote: “The world has lost an artist with the voice of an angel.

“Ireland has lost an iconic voice and one of our absolute finest, by a long shot. And I have lost a friend. Sinead's music will live on and continue to inspire! Rest In Peace, Sinead you are home with your son I am sure.”

In a statement on Wednesday, the singer's family said: "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."

She shot to fame across the world in 1990 by her heartrending cover of Prince's Nothing Compares 2 U.

Canadian singer Bryan Adams said he “loved working with [her] making photos, doing gigs in Ireland together and chat”.

Tim Burgess, lead singer of British rock band the Charlatans, wrote: “She did not compromise and that made her life more of a struggle. Hoping that she has found peace.”

Read more: 'It doesn’t feel like he’s gone’: S Club reveal nervous calls they made to Paul Cattermole hours before his death

Read more: 'I went to hell and back': Emotional Jamie Foxx speaks out for first time since hospitalisation

Sinead O'Connor pictured in 1998
Sinead O'Connor pictured in 1998. Picture: Alamy

US rapper Ice-T said: “Respect to Sinead….. She stood for something… Unlike most people…. Rest Easy.”

She is survived by her three children. Her son, Shane, died last year aged 17.

TV presenter and Irish journalist Conor Pope said: “There aren’t many news stories that will stop almost every Irish person in their tracks. This very sad news is one of them. RIP to one of the finest singers of this - or any - generation.”

Irish comedian Dara O'Briain was among the first to pay tribute, writing online: "Ah s****, Sinead O'Connor has died. That's just very sad news. Poor thing. I hope she realised how much love there was for her."

In her final social media post on July 17 she tweeted a picture of her late son and wrote: "Been living as undead night creature since... He was the love of my life, the lamp of my soul.

"We were one soul in two halves. He was the only person who ever loved me unconditionally. I am lost in the bardo without him."

Sinead’s son Shane died in January last year after going missing from Tallaght Hospital after years of struggling with mental health issues.

Sinead's son died by suicide 18 months ago.
Sinead's son died by suicide 18 months ago. Picture: Twitter
Sinead O&squot;Connor receives the Classic Irish Album award for "I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got" at the RTÉ Choice Music Prize back in March
Sinead O'Connor receives the Classic Irish Album award for "I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got" at the RTÉ Choice Music Prize back in March. Picture: Getty

Announcing her son's death, she wrote: "My beautiful son, Nevi’im Nesta Ali Shane O’Connor, 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."

Earlier this year she was presented with the inaugural award for Classic Irish Album at the RTÉ Choice Music Awards.

She received a standing ovation for the 1990 hit ‘I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got’ and dedicated the award to “each and every member of Ireland’s refugee community”.

“You’re very welcome in Ireland. I love you very much and I wish you happiness,” she said during a rare public appearance.

Sinead acquired an iconic status in Ireland over the years due to her vocal challenges to issues of misogyny, abuse and “uncomfortable truths” - particularly in the 80s and 90s.

She had struggled with her mental health in recent years, saying on the Oprah Winfrey show in 2007 that she had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder four years earlier.

In 2012 she announced on her website that she was ‘very unwell,’ having suffered a breakdown towards the end of 2011.

In 2014 however she said she was not bipolar and blamed her mental state on hormone-replacement therapy following a hysterectomy.

Read more: 'I've suffered incalculably': Innocent man who spent 17 years in jail for rape he didn't commit finally cleared

Her breakthrough hit came in 1990, the power ballad Nothing Compares 2 U, which topped charts in 13 countries.

The hit's iconic music video was filmed as a close-up on Sinead's face while singing in a black polo neck while tears run down her face. Sinead had said in previous interview that her tears in the video were genuine.