Sinead O’Connor, Trailblazing Irish Singer-Songwriter, Dies at 56
Dublin, Ireland – Sinead O’Connor, the iconic Irish singer-songwriter known for her powerful voice and blunt, politically-charged songs, has died at the age of 56. O’Connor passed away on Wednesday after a long illness, according to a statement from her family.
IRISH singer and nineties pop culture icon Sinéad O’Connor has died at the age of 56.
The Dublin artist released 10 studio albums, while her song Nothing Compares 2 U was named the number one world single in 1990 by the Billboard Music Awards and was a massive hit in UK.
She caused controversy in the early 90s after ripping up a picture of the pope live on NBC’s Saturday Night Live in a protest against the child sexual abuse.
After performing a rendition of Bob Marley’s ‘War’ on the SNL stage, O’Connor ripped up a photograph of the Pope as she declared, “Fight the real enemy”.
O’Connor was estimated to be worth around $1.5million.
Ms O’Connor is survived by her three children. Her son, Shane, died last year aged 17.
O’Connor first rose to fame in the late 1980s and early 1990s with hit songs like “Nothing Compares 2 U” and “The Emperor’s New Clothes.” She garnered worldwide attention for her distinctive shaved head, soulful voice and openness about her struggles with mental illness.
Born in Dublin in 1966, O’Connor was drawn to music from a young age. She signed her first record deal at age 18 and released her debut album “The Lion and The Cobra” in 1987, which earned her critical praise. However, it was her 1990 cover of Prince’s “Nothing Compares 2 U” that propelled her to global stardom. The heartfelt ballad topped charts worldwide and earned O’Connor multiple Grammy nominations.
Over her decades-long career, O’Connor released 10 solo albums and collaborated with artists like U2’s The Edge. While known as a singer first and foremost, she was also an outspoken activist for causes like women’s rights and ending child abuse within the Catholic church. Her defiance of expectations for female artists and willingness to tackle controversial topics established her as a cultural icon.
O’Connor courted controversy in 1992 when she tore up a photo of Pope John Paul II during a Saturday Night Live performance, in protest of sexual abuse in the church. The defiant act earned her widespread condemnation but also demonstrated her fearlessness as an artist.
In later years, O’Connor spoke openly about her struggles with bipolar disorder and was candid about her mental health challenges. However, she continued to tour and record new music regularly, cementing her status as one of Ireland’s most celebrated artists.
O’Connor is survived by four children: Jake, Roisin, Eimear and Brigeen. In a statement, her family remembered her “as a loving mother, grandmother, friend and gifted singer-songwriter.”
Fans, fellow musicians and public figures immediately began posting tributes to the legendary singer on social media. U2 frontman Bono called her “one of the greatest voices of her generation” while singer Hozier praised her as “one of the most important Irish artists ever.”
O’Connor’s searing vocals and courageous artistry made her a defining voice of her era. She leaves behind a tremendous musical legacy that broke barriers and inspired musicians everywhere. Though gone too soon, her influence across genres and generations is certain to endure.