Sinéad O'Connor Dead at 56

The Irish singer behind "Nothing Compares 2 U" has died a year after her son Shane died by suicide.

Photo by Andrew Chin / Getty Images

Irish singer-songwriter Sinéad O'Connor, perhaps best known for her landmark single "Nothing Compares 2 U," has died at the age of 56.

As first reported by The Irish Times, O'Connor's death was confirmed in a statement provided to Ireland's national broadcaster RTÉ. “It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our beloved Sinéad," a statement from her family reads. "Her family and friends are devastated and have requested privacy at this very difficult time.” A cause of death hasn't been reported.

O'Connor's death comes less than two years after her 17-year-old son Shane O'Connor died by suicide. She is survived by three children, Jake Reynolds, Roisin Waters, and Yeshua Bonadio.

Born in Dublin in 1966, O'Connor got her start in music when she was 15. It wasn't until she released her debut album The Lion and the Cobra in 1987, however, that she achieved mainstream success in the UK and Ireland. The record peaked at No. 36 on the Billboard 200, but it was her second album, I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got, that catapulted her to international stardom. The album hit the top spot on the Billboard 200 albums chart and also went No. 1 in Australia, Ireland, Germany, France, the UK, Sweden, and Italy. The Prince-penned single "Nothing Compares 2 U," in particular, was a huge success.

By the time it came to release her third studio album, the Jazz-inflected Am I Not Your Girl?, she became marred in controversy thanks to a performance on Saturday Live on October 3, 1992. After performing a stripped-back cover of Bob Marley's "War," she held up a photo of Pope John Paul II and ripped it up in protest over the Catholic Church's widespread cover-up of sexual abuse against children.

In her 2021 memoir Rememberings, per Rolling Stone, O'Connor expressed no regret over the moment. "Everyone wants a pop star, see? But I am a protest singer. I just had stuff to get off my chest. I had no desire for fame," she wrote. "I understand I’ve torn up the dreams of those around me. But those aren’t my dreams. No one ever asked me what my dreams were; they just got mad at me for not being who they wanted me to be." In 2018 she converted to Islam.

She released her tenth and final studio album, I'm Not Bossy, I'm the Boss, in 2014. Earlier this year, she shared a new recording of "The Skye Boat Song" for the opening of the historical drama series Outlander.

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