Renowned Irish Singer Sinéad O’Connor Dies at the Age of 56

The acclaimed Irish artist and activist Sinéad O’Connor has passed away at the age of 56.

The sad news was shared by her family “with great sadness”, stating that “her family and friends are devastated”. The cause of her death remains undisclosed to the public.

She gained global recognition for her 1990 hit single “Nothing Compares 2 U”, which topped the charts worldwide.

Taoiseach (Irish PM) Leo Varadkar expressed that her music “was loved around the world and her talent was unmatched”.

Irish President Michael D Higgins admired O’Connor’s “authenticity” and her “beautiful, unique voice”.

“What Ireland has lost at such a young age is one of our 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,” he staed.

Born as Sinead Marie Bernadette O’Connor in Glenageary, County Dublin, in December 1966, the artist faced a challenging upbringing.

During her teen years, she was sent to An Grianan Training Centre in Dublin, once a notorious Magdalene laundry, originally established for young girls considered to be promiscuous.

A nun gifted her a guitar and arranged for a music teacher, leading to O’Connor’s musical journey.

In 1987, she debuted with her widely praised album “The Lion And The Cobra”, which made it into the top 40 in both the UK and US.

Her sequel was “I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got”, which featured the hit “Nothing Compares 2 U”.

Penned by Prince, the song achieved the top spot globally, including in the US and the UK.

O’Connor, vocal about her societal and political beliefs, released a total of 10 studio albums between 1987 and 2014.

In 1991, she was declared artist of the year by Rolling Stone magazine and won the Brit Award for international female solo artist.

In the subsequent year, she stirred controversy when she tore a photograph of Pope John Paul II on the US TV show Saturday Night Live, where she was the guest performer.

After delivering an acapella rendition of Bob Marley’s War, she faced the camera and uttered “fight the real enemy”, protesting against child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church.

As a consequence, she was permanently barred by broadcaster NBC and faced backlash in the US, resulting in her records being destroyed in New York’s Times Square.

“I’m not sorry I did it. It was brilliant,” she revealed in a 2021 interview with the New York Times.

Her final studio album, “I’m Not Bossy, I’m The Boss”, was launched in 2014.

Upon converting to Islam in 2018, the Dublin-born artist adopted the name Shuhada’ Sadaqat, yet continued to perform using her birth name. She released a memoir, “Rememberings”, in 2021.

In January 2022, her 17-year-old son Shane was tragically discovered dead after being reported missing two days prior.

Responding to his death on social media, she disclosed that he had “decided to end his earthly struggle” and requested that “no-one follows his example”.

Due to her “continuing grief” over the loss of her son, she withdrew from all live shows for the remainder of 2022.

Belfast filmmaker Kathryn Ferguson, who talked to O’Connor shortly before her death, expressed her “devastation” upon hearing the news.

Ferguson was working on a documentary about O’Connor, titled “Nothing Compares”, slated for release this Saturday.

Following the announcement of her death on Wednesday evening, social media was awash with tributes to the late singer.