Irish music legend Sinead O’Connor dies aged 56 - just 18 months after death of her 17-year-old son Shane

26 July 2023, 18:50 | Updated: 27 July 2023, 01:03

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

By Asher McShane

Irish music legend Sinead O’Connor has died aged 56.

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

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

In a statement, 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."

Tributes have been pouring in after news of her death emerged.

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.”

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

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."

Irish President Michael D. Higgins said: “What Ireland has lost at such a relatively young age is one of our greatest and most gifted composers, songwriters and performers of recent decades, one who had a unique talent and extraordinary connection with her audience, all of whom held such love and warmth 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."

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

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
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

She described him as the “light of my life” saying: “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.

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.

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