She was 56.
In one of her last posts on social media, dated July 17, O’Connor expressed her ongoing grief over the dead of her son. “Been living as undead night creature since,” she wrote. “He was the love of my life, the lamp of my soul. We were one soul in two halves. He was the only person who ever loved me unconditionally. I am lost in the bardo without him.”
“The bardo” refers to the Tibetan concept of the state between life and death/rebirth. O’Connor was raised Catholic but converted to Islam in 2018. In her Twitter bio, she referred to herself as an “amateur theology student.”
Born in Dublin, Ireland on December 8, 1966, Sinéad Marie Bernadette O’Connor was named after Irish author Sinead de Valera and Saint Bernadette. Deemed a delinquent at 15 for truancy and shoplifting, she was sent for 18 months to a Magdalene asylum, a reform school run by the Catholic Church. O’Connor would later claim she was severely abused as a child, particularly by her mother, and attributed her time at school as instrumental in her development as an artist.
While her first album, “The Lion and the Cobra,” was moderately successful in the UK and earned her a Grammy nod, it wasn’t until her second album, “I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got,” that O’Connor would reach international stardom.
Her famed cover of Prince’s “Nothing Compares 2 U” was named the number one world single at the Billboard Music Awards. During a decades-long career, the Dublin-based singer released 10 studio albums.
Earlier this year she received a standing ovation at the RTÉ Choice Music Awards in receiving the first-ever award for Classic Irish Album, according to The Irish Times, which first reported her death.
She dedicated the award, for “I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got,” to “each and every member of Ireland’s refugee community,” The Irish Times noted.
In October 1992 O’Connor notoriously tore up a photo of Pope John Paul II during a 1992 appearance on “Saturday Night Live,” calling it a protest against widespread allegations of child abuse in the Catholic Church — presaging the public revelations by about a decade.
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