Groundbreaking Musician Sinéad O’Connor Dead at 56

Sinéad O’Connor, groundbreaking singer Irish singer, has died at the age of 56.

Sinéad O’Connor, groundbreaking singer Irish singer, has died at the age of 56. Her family released a statement saying, “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.”

O’Connor’s musical career, talent, impact, activism — and fame or infamy, depending on how you look at it — is hard to put into words. Her first album The Lion and the Cobra debuted in 1987, making it to the top 40 in both the UK and US. She was most arguably famous single Nothing Compares 2 U, released in 1990, hit number one around the world.

She was always outspoken in her political opinions and dominated headlines worldwide when she ripped up a picture of Pope John Paul II on Saturday Night Live during her guest performance. After singing Bob Marley’s “War,” she stared into the camera and said, “fight the real enemy” as she tore up the photo. She was then banned for life by NBC.

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

HBO’s Euphoria featured O’Connor’s song “Drink Before The War” in a season 2 scene, introducing modern day teens to one of O’Connor’s most powerful ballads.

O’Connor openly struggled with identity, abuse, religion, and mental health issues. Her 17-year-old son went missing last year, and was later reported dead. O’Connor wrote on social media following his death that he “decided to end his earthly struggle” and requested “no-one follows his example.” The cause of O’Connor’s death has not been released as of Wednesday afternoon.

Tributes to the artist are flooding social media. “A great Irish poet and singer left us today. She was beautiful, courageous and wore her heart on her sleeve. She was before her time. Nothing will ever compare to Sinéad O’Connor. Rest easy Sinéad,” tweeted poet Seamus Heaney.

The executive director of Amnesty International Ireland, Colm O’Gorman said “It is hard to think of an artist who has had the social and cultural impact of Sinead. What a loss. Heartfelt condolences to her children, her family and all who loved her.”

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