Sinéad O’Connor Gone Too Soon

On Wednesday, July 26, 2023, shock waves rippled across the global music community, announcing the sudden death of Sinéad O’Connor. Although it was devastating news to learn the talented and complicated artist had passed away at the young age of 56 years old, the stigma of her trials and tribulations almost made it something that was not unexpected. 

It has been a rough couple of years, between aging artists and illnesses, we have lost so many it is hard to keep track. 

Details of her death are still not completely clear, but so far we know that  Police officers found Sinéad O’Connor unresponsive in a London flat on Wednesday just weeks after she had moved to the city, it has emerged. The Metropolitan police said in a statement on Thursday that officers were called at 11.18am on Wednesday to reports of an “unresponsive woman” at a residential address in the Herne Hill area of south London.

“Officers attended. A 56-year-old woman was pronounced dead at the scene. Next of kin have been notified. The death is not being treated as suspicious. A file will be prepared for the coroner.”

The officials and Scotland Yard have declared Sinead O’Connor’s death as unsuspicious. 

O’Connor’s family broke the news of the Irish singer’s death in a brief statement on Wednesday evening, prompting mourning and tributes from artists and others around the world. In a Twitter video post shared on July 9,  O’Connor filmed herself at a flat, saying she had moved to London and intended to record new songs. “I’ll make a video because some of you are saying you don’t believe it’s my account; it is my account. But fret not, I’m going to be a good girl,” she said. “I look like shit either way, which is why I didn’t want to make a video.”

Referring to the death of her 17-year-old son, Shane, who died 18 months ago after leaving a hospital while on suicide watch, she said: “But you know the way your kid, unfortunately, passes away, it isn’t good for one’s body or soul to be fair. But anyways, let’s not dwell on that.” The camera panned around the living room and kitchen, showing a vase with sunflowers and a guitar, which O’Connor said she intended to use to compose songs. The Dubliner had lived in London intermittently over the decades.

Shuhada’ Sadaqat, formerly known as Magda Davitt and born Sinéad Marie Bernadette O’Connor on 8 December 1966, is an Irish singer and musician. Her musical journey began with the release of her debut album, “The Lion and the Cobra,” in 1987, which achieved international chart success.

Her second album, “I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got,” received widespread acclaim and became a massive hit, selling over seven million copies worldwide. The lead single from this album, “Nothing Compares 2 U,” written by Prince, was recognized as the number one world single in 1990 by the Billboard Music Awards. Over the course of her career, she has released ten studio albums, with notable successes such as “Am I Not Your Girl?” and “Universal Mother,” both achieving gold status in the UK. Additionally, “Faith and Courage” received gold status in Australia, and “Throw Down Your Arms” achieved gold status in Ireland. Shuhada’ Sadaqat’s musical talent also extends to songs for films, collaborations with various artists, and performances at charitable fundraising events. Her memoir titled “Rememberings,” published in 2021, became a bestseller.

Apart from her musical achievements, Shuhada’ Sadaqat has been unapologetically open about her spiritual journey, activism, socio-political views, as well as her experiences with trauma and mental health challenges. In 1999, she was ordained as a priest by the Latin Tridentine Church, an organization not recognized by the mainstream Catholic Church. Throughout her career, she has been vocal on issues related to child abuse, human rights, anti-racism, organized religion, and women’s rights.

In 2017, she changed her name to Magda Davitt, but her journey of self-discovery led her to convert to Islam in 2018, prompting her to adopt the name Shuhada’ Sadaqat. However, despite the name changes, she continues to record and perform under her birth name, Sinéad O’Connor.

Michael D. Higgins, Ireland’s President has said,  “What Ireland has lost at such a relatively young age is one of our greatest and most gifted composers, songwriters and performers of recent decades, one who had a unique talent and extraordinary connection with her audience, all of whom held such love and warmth for her,” said the Irish president, Michael D Higgins. “May her spirit find the peace she sought in so many different ways.”

Tribute continue to flow around the world. Gone too soon.