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Singer Sinead O’Connor died at the age of 56

Ireland Sinéad O'Connor passed away

She became famous with the song “Nothing Compares 2 U”, after which Sinéad O’Connor was in the headlines, mainly with scandals and provocations. Now the tragedy-ridden life of the Irish artist has come to an end.

“We are very sad to announce the death of our beloved Sinead,” Irish broadcaster RTE quoted a statement from her family as saying on Wednesday. The statement went on to say that the singer’s family and friends are “devastated” and have asked for “privacy at this difficult time.”

Ireland’s Prime Minister Leo Varadkar paid tribute to O’Connor with the words: “Her music was loved all over the world and her talent was unsurpassed and incomparable.” He expressed his condolences to family, friends, and “everyone who loved their music”.

More than a one-hit wonder

Sinéad O’Connor became world famous in 1990 with her version of the song “Nothing Compares 2 U” written by Prince (1958-2016).

Ireland Sinéad O'Connor passed away
Sinéad O’Connor in the year of her breakthrough: 1990 at the Zenith concert hall in ParisImage: Bertrand Guay/AFP/Getty Images

The Dublin-born singer with her trademark shaved head has released ten albums over the course of her career, covering a range of genres from Irish traditional music to blues and reggae. Their first two albums The Lion and the Cobra and I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got were huge successes.

scandals and provocations

After that, O’Connor often made a name for himself through scandals and disturbing actions. She started in 1992 when she tore up a picture of the then Pope John Paul II during a television appearance in the USA. With the action, O’Connor wanted to sharply criticize the Catholic Church, which accused them of not having protected underage victims of sexual abuse.

However, the action mainly caused outrage in the media. According to her own statements, she had been abused by her mother in her childhood.

Ireland Sinéad O'Connor passed away
Sinéad O’Connor performing in London in 1999Image: Sean Dempsey/empics/picture alliance

In 1999, O’Connor was ordained a priestess by a secessionist church. In 2003, the singer said goodbye to the stage for a short time. In 2005 she tried her hand at reggae on the album Throw Down Your Arms after settling in Jamaica for a while and becoming involved with the Rastafarian religious movement. In 2017 she renamed herself Magda Davitt. A year later she converted to Islam and changed her name to Shuhada’ Sadaqat.

A life of tragedy

Sinéad O’Connor was born on December 8, 1966, the third of five children. Her parents separated early and O’Connor was initially raised by her mother. When she was 14, she went to a reformatory. The mother later died in a car accident.

She herself often spoke about psychological problems in her life and repeatedly threatened to withdraw from the music business. She was never able to build on the great success of her earlier career. 2011 was a particularly dramatic year as she tweeted suicidal threats and desperate calls for help. A few months later she canceled her planned tour because of a manic-depressive illness.

Overall, O’Connor was married four times and had four children. One of them, her then 17-year-old son, committed suicide last year.

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