Sinéad O’Connor, the gifted but controversial singer of the classic song “Nothing Compares 2 U,” has died at the age of 56.
In a statement, the singer’s family said: “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 erupted onto the music scene with her debut album, “The Lion and the Cobra,” in 1987 at the age of 20. Known for her fiery temperament and shaved head, O’Connor went on to release 10 studio albums during her record-setting career.
Three years after her debut, she became a household name with a rendition of “Nothing Compares 2 U” — a power ballad written by Prince.
The track turned O’Connor into an international sensation and was named the number one world single in 1990 by the Billboard Music Awards.
The accompanying music video— which featured a close-up of O’Connor’s tearful face — became just as iconic as the track itself and is considered one of the most recognizable clips of the decade.
The following year she won a Grammy for Best Alternative Music Performance in 1991 for her album “I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got.”
Lauded by the Irish community, the inaugural award for Classic Irish Album was bestowed upon O’Connor at the RTÉ Choice Music Awards earlier this year. During her speech the crowd erupted in applause and gave her a standing ovation.
“You’re very welcome in Ireland,” she said expressing her gratitude. “I love you very much and I wish you happiness,” she added after dedicating the award to “each and every member of Ireland’s refugee community.”
O’Connor changed her name to Shuhada’ Sadaqat in 2018 after she decided to convert to Islam.
“This is to announce that I am proud to have become a Muslim,” she wrote on Twitter on Oct. 19, 2018. “This is the natural conclusion of any intelligent theologian’s journey. All scripture study leads to Islam. Which makes all other scriptures redundant. I will be given (another) new name. It will be Shuhada’.”
In January 2022, the Irish songstress hitmaker lost her 17-year-old son, who she said, “decided to end his earthly struggle today and is now with God.”
“Like, how has a seventeen year old traumatised young person WHO WAS ON SUICIDE WATCH in Tallaght Hospital’s Lynn Ward been able to go missing???” O’Connor wrote in a since deleted tweet.
As she continued to grieve the loss, O’Connor’s management team released a statement announcing she was cancelling all her scheduled gigs and would not be performing for the rest of the year.
“I’ve decided to follow my son. There is no point living without him,” she said of Shane, 17, whose body was found Jan. 7, a day after he went missing from suicide watch at an Irish hospital.
Her final tweet earlier this month, was a tribute to her late son, where she wrote, “Been living as undead night creature since. He was the love of my life, the lamp of my soul.”
O’Connor’s decorated career was not without controversy, and she often made headlines for her antics.
The Irish singer cemented her status as an eccentric and passionate performer when she turned her October 1992 “Saturday Night Live” guest appearance and musical performance into a protest. The “Success Has Made a Failure of Our Home” shredded a pic of Pope John Paul II onstage to fight against sexual abuse in the Catholic Church.
The stunt got the Grammy winner exiled from NBC for life and also booed offstage at a Bob Dylan tribute concert a few weeks later, Rolling Stone reported.
At the time, O’Connor said she had torn up the photo to protest sexual abuse of children by the Catholic Church. However, she later revealed that the story goes much deeper.
After years of speculation, O’Connor revealed in 2021 her rationale behind her infamous appearance on the famed NBC sketch comedy show. The “Trouble of the World” singer dropped the bombshell in her 2021 memoir, “Rememberings,” which was excerpted by Rolling Stone.
“My intention had always been to destroy my mother’s photo of the pope,” she said. “It represented lies and liars and abuse. The type of people who kept these things were devils like my mother.”
O’Connor wrote that she visited her mother’s home after her death and “took down from her bedroom wall the only photo she ever had up there, which was of Pope John Paul II.”
Almost 30 years after the incident, O’Connor had no regrets over ripping the pope on camera.
“Everyone wants a pop star, see?” she wrote in the memoir. “But I am a protest singer. I just had stuff to get off my chest. I had no desire for fame.”
Born in Glenageary in south Co Dublin in 1966, O’Connor’s parents separated when she was young and she later spoke of the abuse she had suffered at the hands of her mother, which she said led her to have mental health issues later as an adult.
“She ran a torture chamber,” O’Connor told Dr. Phil during an episode that aired in 2017. “It was a torture chamber. She was a person who took delight, would smile in hurting you. “My earliest memory, she’s telling me I shouldn’t have been born. She didn’t want me.”
O’Connor theorized why she garnered her mother’s disdain. “She didn’t want girls,” she explained. “She wanted me to be a boy. She (dressed) me like a boy, she chops my hair off. Whenever she beats me, which is daily, I’m naked. She makes me take my clothes off. I have to lie on the floor. I have to open my arms and legs. I have to let her attack my abdomen. She wants to burst my womb. She wants to destroy my reproductive system. She wants to stop me from being a female.”
Her first marriage to music producer John Reynolds resulted in the birth of her son, Jake, now age 36.
She subsequently aborted her second child with Reynolds due to their separation in 1989. A short time later, O’Connor embarked on a relationship with Irish journalist John Waters, with whom she welcomed daughter, Roisin, in 1996.
However, the pair soon split and fought a bitter, highly publicized court battle for custody of their young child. The troubled musician eventually agreed to let Roisin live with Waters.
In the mid-2000s, O’Connor welcomed two more children. In 2004, she gave birth to son Shane following a brief romance with Donald Lunny.
Two years later, O’Connor gave birth to son Yeshua, whose father is Irishman Frank Bonadio. O’Connor also had three other failed marriages, each of which lasted less than a year.
Her fourth marriage to therapist Barry Herridge ended after just a week.
O’Connor is survived by three children.
The Post has reached out to O’Connor’s reps for comment.
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