The Irish singer’s “devastated” family confirmed she had died on Wednesday (26 July). A cause of death has not been disclosed.
In the hours since her death, many musicians and industry figures have paid tribute to O’Connor, who was known for her famous 1990 cover of Prince’s “Nothing Compares 2 U”, as well as her several studio albums and long history of activism.
But English singer Morrissey, 64, has now written a post on his website criticising the reaction to O’Connor’s death and claiming that she did not receive enough support when she was alive.
In a post titled “You Know I Couldn’t Last”, the former Smiths frontman wrote that “the cruel playpen of fame gushes with praise for Sinead today”.
“She was dropped by her label after selling seven million albums for them. She became crazed, yes, but uninteresting, never. She had done nothing wrong,” he wrote.
“She had proud vulnerability… and there is a certain music industry hatred for singers who don’t ‘fit in’ (this I know only too well), and they are never praised until death – when, finally, they can’t answer back.
“You praise her now ONLY because it is too late. You hadn’t the guts to support her when she was alive and she was looking for you.”
Referencing other female stars who have died, he added: “Why is ANYBODY surprised that Sinead O’Connor is dead?
“Who cared enough to save Judy Garland, Whitney Houston, Amy Winehouse, Marilyn Monroe, Billie Holiday? Where do you go when death can be the best outcome? Was this music madness worth Sinead’s life?”
Morrissey went on to describe the “Nothing Compares 2 U” star as a “challenge”, who couldn’t be “boxed up”.
“She had the courage to speak when everyone else stayed safely silent,” he continued. “She was harassed simply for being herself.
“As always, the lamestreamers miss the ringing point, and with locked jaws they return to the insultingly stupid ‘icon’ and ‘legend’ when last week words far more cruel and dismissive would have done.
“Tomorrow the fawning fops flip back to their online s***posts and their cosy Cancer Culture and their moral superiority and their obituaries of parroted vomit… all of which will catch you lying on days like today… when Sinead doesn’t need your sterile slop.”
Morrissey has provoked numerous controversies in recent years and has alienated many of his fans.
His 2019 endorsement of the far-right For Britain party and his claim that “everyone ultimately prefers their own race” have been particular low points, along with him calling Chinese people a “subspecies” for their treatment of animals in 2010 and his comments in 2017 suggesting that refugees had made Germany “the rape capital of Europe”.
O’Connor shot to fame in 1990 with her cover of Prince’s “Nothing Compares 2 U”.
She occasionally talked about the links between the song and the alleged abuse she had suffered at the hands of her mother: “It was an emotional thing for me,” she once said. “My mother was an extremely violent person. Someone who wasn’t well.”
The star was a provocative campaigner during her lifetime and called herself a “protest singer”.
During a notorious 1992 appearance on Saturday Night Live, following a performance of Bob Marley’s “War”, O’Connor held a photo of Pope John Paul II up to the camera and ripped it to pieces in protest of sexual abuse within the Church.
The move led to counter protests around the world, with a bulldozer even being deployed to flatten a pile of her records in New York’s Times Square.
Her death came 18 months after her 17-year-old son Shane died, having escaped a hospital in Ireland where he had been on suicide watch.
One of her last social media posts before she died was a heartbreaking tribute to him, where she wrote that she had “been living as undead night creature” since Shane’s death.
O’Connor, who had bipolar disorder, had been candid over the years about her struggles with mental health. She once compared her experience of living with a mental health condition to “having two broken legs, but everyone expects you to walk normal”.
If you are experiencing feelings of distress, or are struggling to cope, you can speak to the Samaritans, in confidence, on 116 123 (UK and ROI), email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit the Samaritans website to find details of your nearest branch.
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