The Heart-Wrenching Death Of Sinead O'Connor's Son

Irish singer Sinead O'Connor was known for her controversial career and her hit song "Nothing Compares 2 U" (via Biography). Although she still performed and made music until her death in 2023, it's clear that her sole focus became her four children toward the end of her life (per RSVP Live). According to The Mirror, the singer was married four times and was the mother of Jake, Roisin, Shane, and Yeshua. Jake, her firstborn, is the product of her first marriage to John Reynolds, a music producer (via Smooth Radio). After the birth of her second child, Roisin, O'Connor endured a custody battle with her ex, journalist John Waters, in 1995.

Per the Daily Mail, her third child, Shane, whom she shared with musician Donal Lunny, would be born in 2004. In 2006, she had her final child, Yeshua, with Frank Bonadio. In January 2022, O'Connor announced on social media that her son Shane had gone missing and was asking for his safe return (via People). She stated that her "world would collapse" without him and pleaded with him to not harm himself.

He was on suicide watch

The Guardian reports that on January 8, authorities confirmed that 17-year-old Shane O'Connor had died. His remains had been found in Bray, a town outside of Dublin. The New York Post writes that the teen had "escaped suicide watch" shortly before going missing. As reported by the Daily Mail, Sinead O'Connor later revealed that he took his own life by hanging. "'I have now formally identified the remains of my son, Shane," she tweeted.

The singer took to social media to write about her son's death (via People). "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," she tweeted. "May he rest in peace and may no one follow his example. My baby. I love you so much. Please be at peace."

Shane O'Connor allegedly planned the suicide a month ahead

In a series of tweets posted in January 2022, Sinead O'Connor claimed that her son had planned his suicide in advance — and Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS), which discharged him at the time, was aware of such plans.

"A month ago Shane was brought to CAMHS after vanishing leaving suicide notes including detailed funeral plans," she wrote (per the Daily Mail)." They discharged him. Said he had no plans. When objections were raised by the adult with him she was told 'planning a funeral is no different to planning a wedding.' ... I'm here to tell CAMHS that planning my child's funeral is nothing remotely similar to planning his wedding. Which will now never happen."

According to the Irish Examiner, Shane ended up in Tallaght Hospital — though it's unclear whether he was there voluntarily or not. Child and family agency Tusla, his legal guardian at the time, was alerted, and though Ireland's national police service was contacted after, he was ultimately found dead.

Sinead blamed Tusla, CAMHS, and Tallaght Hospital for their purported negligence. According to The Scottish Sun, she threatened a lawsuit against the latter, saying she didn't understand how a "traumatized young person" like her son could have gone missing. She added that the hospital was "refusing to take any responsibility."

Sinead O'Connor shared one of his poem's before his death

Shane O'Connor, like his mother, had a way with words. As reported by The Sun, Sinead O'Connor shared one of her son's works — which she noted is in 6/8 tempo — in 2021, shortly before his death: "The blood never ends / The failure of men / Is to pick up a knife as quick as a pen / How many lives must we spend again / For the freedom of my cock and the love of my hen / Would you swap places with a man out of tune if the birds of December became the birds of June / Would you go to old places just to make them look new or bring memories with you when out of the blue."

In tribute to her son in the wake of his death, Sinead shared a link to Bob Marley's song "Ride Natty Ride," which speaks of overcoming adversity: "Natty keep on comin' through / And no matter what they say / Natty do them every day, yeah! / Natty dread rides again / Through the mystics of tomorrow / Natty dread rides again / Have no fear, have no sorrow, yeah!"

Such a tribute is unsurprising — not just because of the challenges Shane faced in his life, but also because of his talent for poetry.

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline​ at​ 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​.

If you or someone you know needs help with mental health, please contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), or visit the National Institute of Mental Health website.