Irish-born singer Sinead O’Connor has died at the age of 56. The musician was best known for her hit single “Nothing Compares 2 U.”
In a statement cited by Irish broadcaster RTE, the singer’s family said: “It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our beloved Sinead. Her family and friends are devastated and have requested privacy at this very difficult time.”
Irish prime minister Leo Varadkar led tributes to the singer saying her “music was loved around the world and her talent was unmatched and beyond compare”.
“Condolences to her family, her friends and all who loved her music,” he added.
O’Connor was propelled to worldwide fame by the Prince cover ‘Nothing Compares 2 U,’ which won the 1990 Billboard Music Awards for Best Single in the World. The string-accompanied ballad topped the music charts from Europe to Australia.
She had already received critical acclaim for her first album, “The Lion and the Cobra,” featuring her debut hit “Mandinka.” The singer released 10 studio albums in all.
The artist kept her head shaved in what she said was a response to music company bosses pressurizing her to be conventionally glamorous.
Outspoken in her social and political views and regularly stirring up controversy, O’Connor was a lifelong non-conformist.
She described herself as a child “kleptomaniac” and was arrested several times before she was eventually sent to a church-run training facility where a sympathetic nun encouraged her to pursue music.
“I suppose I’ve got to say that music saved me,” she said in 2013. “It was either jail or music. I got lucky.”
She converted to Islam and changed her name to Shuhada’ Sadaqat in 2018. She had reportedly been dividing her time between Ireland and Britain.
The singer, who married four times, had a troubled personal life. She was open about mental health issues on social media, saying she had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Her son, Shane, died last year aged 17 by suicide.
O’Connor is survived by three of her children.