Sinéad O’Connor passed away on July 26, 2023. She was 56 years old.
No cause of death has been announced. Her family said in a statement, “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.”
She was found in her home “unresponsive” and “pronounced dead at the scene,” according to police.
O’Connor was an Irish musician who started her career in 1987. Her sophomore album I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got, released in 1990, carried “Nothing Compares 2 U.” It became a hit, becoming one of the best-selling singles in the world that year.
The album was nominated for four Grammy Awards in 1991, including Record of the Year, Best Female Pop Vocal Performance, and Best Music Video, Short Form for “Nothing Compares 2 U.” It won Best Alternative Music Performance.
O’Connor, however, did not attend the ceremony to accept her award. Before the event, the singer wrote an open letter to the Recording Academy, writing, “They respect mostly material gain, since that is the main reason for their existence. And they have created a great respect among artists for material gain — by honoring us and exalting us when we achieve it, ignoring for the most part those of us who have not.”
The singer has been vocal about her beliefs.
One of her most career-defining moments is during a 1992 episode of Saturday Night Live, when she was the musical guest. During her performance, she ripped up a picture of Pope John Paul II as a protest against the Catholic Church and child sexual abuse.
This drew widespread condemnation, with some noting that this move derailed her career.
In an interview with the Guardian in 2021, she said, “There was no doubt about who this b**ch is. There was no more mistaking this woman for a pop star. But it was not derailing; people say, ‘Oh you f**ked up your career,’ but they’re talking about the career they had in mind for me. I f**ked up the house in Antigua that the record company dudes wanted to buy. I f**ked up their career, not mine. It meant that I had to make my living playing live, and I am born for live performance.”
Tributes have poured for O’Connor. Morrissey wrote on his website, “You praise her now ONLY because it is too late. You hadn’t the guts to support her when she was alive and she was looking for you.”
He added, “She was a challenge, and she couldn’t be boxed-up, and she had the courage to speak when everyone else stayed safely silent. She was harassed simply for being herself. Her eyes finally closed in search of a soul she could call her own.”
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