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Sinéad O'Connor Has Died, Aged 56
Christian Eede , July 26th, 2023 18:42

The Irish singer and songwriter rose to fame in 1990 with her hit cover of Prince's 'Nothing Compares 2 U'

Sinéad O'Connor has died at the age of 56.

A cause of death was not immediately clear at the time of publication. In a statement confirming her passing, O'Connor'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."

The Irish singer and songwriter broke out in 1990 with her hit cover of Prince's song 'Nothing Compares 2 U', and was famed for her outspoken lyrics, social activism and upfront discussions about struggles with her mental health.

Born in Dublin, Ireland, O'Connor was discovered by music executives while performing in the band Ton Ton Macoute. She released her debut studio album, The Lion And The Cobra, in 1987. The first of 10 albums released across her career, it reached the top 40 of the UK and US charts.

O'Connor's follow-up album, 1990's I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got, went on to peak at the top of the UK and US charts and marked her full breakthrough as a recording artist. It included 'Nothing Compares 2 U', which was a hit single around the world.

It was in the early '90s that O'Connor began to establish herself as an outspoken figure, with strong social and political views. She boycotted the Grammys in 1991 in a stand against the show's commercialism, and railed against the Catholic Church in a 1992 performance on Saturday Night Live when she tore up a photo of Pope John Paul II and called upon viewers to "fight the real enemy." The act, which got her banned from appearing on the NBC network for life, was intended as a protest against the sexual abuse of children in the church which the Pope officially acknowledged nine years later.

O'Connor struggled with mental health issues throughout her life and revealed in 2007 that she was living with bipolar disorder. In 1993, she wrote a public letter in The Irish Times, which asked people to "stop hurting" her and made accusations of childhood abuse at the hands of her mother, with whom she lived after her parents separated when she was eight. She had also repeated those allegations in a number of interviews.

The artist released her final studio album, I'm Not Bossy, I'm The Boss, in 2014. In 2018, she released the song 'Milestones' under the moniker Magda Davitt, which marked her first new material in four years.

O'Connor changed her name to Shuhada' Sadaqat after converting to Islam in 2018, but continued to perform under her birth name. She also released a memoir, Rememberings, in 2021, which explored her difficult upbringing, mental health struggles and music career. In 2022, she was the focus of a documentary by director Kathryn Ferguson, called Nothing Compares.

She is survived by her three children. Her 17-year-old son, Shane, took his own life last year. Revealing on social media that he had "decided to end his earthly struggle," O'Connor requested that "no-one follows his example."