‘She was a very good friend of mine’: Bob Geldof recalls final texts with Sinead O’Connor

Singer and activist remembered fellow Irish artist during his performance Cavan Calling festival over the weekend

Nicole Vassell
Tuesday 08 August 2023 09:07 BST
Sinead O'Connor dies, aged 56

Bob Geldof has shared some insight into the nature of his final messages with Sinead O’Connor, who died last month aged 56.

The “Nothing Compares 2 U” singer was found unresponsive at an address in London, her family confirmed on Wednesday (26 July). A cause of death has not yet been announced but police are treating the circumstances as unsuspicious.

After O’Connor’s 17-year-old son Shane died by suicide in January 2022, she occasionally shared her grief on social media. Days before she died, the Irish star published a heartfelt post about her son’s death.

Geldof had been a friend of O’Connor for several years. During his appearance at Cavan Calling festival in Ireland on the weekend, the singer and activist took a moment to remember O’Connor, and spoke of how she experienced moments of extreme sadness as recently as “a couple of weeks ago”.

“There’s no other option, as all of you know, than to just keep on,” he told the crowd, according to The Mirror.

“Many, many times Sinead was full of a terrible loneliness and a terrible despair. She was a very good friend of mine. We were talking right up to a couple of weeks ago. Some of her texts were laden with desperation and despair and some were ecstatically happy. She was like that.”

O’Connor spoke about living with bipolar disorder during a televised interview with Oprah Winfrey in 2007, explaining how she suffered from suicidal thoughts.

“I don’t think I was born with bipolar disorder – I believe it was created as a result of the violence I experienced,” she told Winfrey, referring to the abuse she’d experienced from her mother as a child.

Later, in 2013, O’Connor told fans that she’d been misdiagnosed and that she was instead suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of the abuse she suffered.

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Like O’Connor, Geldof, 71, had also experienced the death of one of his children. His daughter Peaches died aged 25 in 2014 of a heroin overdose, and her mother, the presenter and writer Paula Yates, died in the same manner in 2000.

The “I Don’t Like Mondays” singer went on to praise O’Connor’s outspokenness and bravery, referring to her tearing up a picture of the Pope on Saturday Night Live in 1992 in protest of child sexual abuse within the Catholic Church.

Bob Geldof and Sinead O’Connor (Getty / PA)

According to Geldof, O’Connor had been inspired to take this specific action after Geldof and his band, The Boomtown Rats, tore up photos of John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John on Top of the Pops in celebration of them replacing them at No 1 on the charts.

“It was a little more extreme than tearing up f***ing disco,” Geldof said. “She saw us on the Late Late [Show] kicking off about the Church and all that stuff, and she was thrilled by it. So, we love her very much.

“It’s impossible, some of us watched her this afternoon on the web and we were just speechless on how beautiful, how brilliant she was.”

O’Connor’s funeral is taking place today in Bray, Co Wicklow - follow the latest updates here.

If you have been affected by this article, you can contact the following organisations for support: actiononaddiction.org.uk, mind.org.uk, nhs.uk/livewell/mentalhealth, mentalhealth.org.uk.

If you or someone you know is suffering from drug addiction, you can seek confidential help and support 24-7 from Frank, by calling 0300 123 6600, texting 82111, sending an email or visiting their website here.

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