Irish Music Legend Sinead O'Connor Dead At 56

Sinead O'Connor, the iconic Irish singer-songwriter who rose to international fame in the early '90s, has died, the Daily Mail has reported. Her meteoric rise to celebrity status came with her rendition of Prince's "Nothing Compares 2 U" in 1990. The singer sadly lost her 17-year-old son last year when he died by suicide, and in what would be her final social media post, dated July 17, 2023, O'Connor posted a picture of Shane and wrote: "Been living as undead night creature since. He was the love of my life, the lamp of my soul" (via LBC).

O'Connor was born in Dublin, Ireland on December 8, 1966, per the Mirror. She had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, PTSD, and borderline personality disorder, and has publically spoken about attempting suicide, according to City A.M. She blamed her issues on being mentally and physically abused by her mother. 

No cause of death has been given as of this writing. Her family released a statement on the singer's death: "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."

An iconoclast

From her first album, 1987's "The Lion and the Cobra," Sinead O'Connor broke the mold, combining pop and alternative rock with a one-of-a-kind presence with her shaved head and intense live performances. "She came along at a time when alternative music was just starting to cross into the mainstream, but she was straddling both those things," music critic Jessica Hopper told NPR in 2021, "She was immediately iconoclastic."

O'Connor's refusal to play by the rules often negatively impacted her career, as was the case when she tore up a photograph of Pope John Paul II during a live performance on Saturday Night Live in 1992, as a protest against the Catholic church's concealment of child sexual abuse by some of its clergy, per American Songwriter. "I feel that having a number-one record derailed my career and my tearing the photo put me on the right track," she recalled in her memoir "Rememberings." 

Later in life, she explored various religious practices, including becoming ordained in the independent Irish Orthodox Catholic and Apostolic Church before converting to Islam in 2018, according to The National News. In her 1990 song "The Emperor's New Clothes" O'Connor sings, "I will live by my own policies/I will sleep with a clear conscience/I will sleep in peace." And she did. 

If you or someone you know is struggling or in crisis, help is available. Call or text 988 or chat

If you or someone you know may be the victim of child abuse, please contact the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-Child (1-800-422-4453) or contact their live chat services.