Sinéad O’Connor’s cause of death revealed

Irish singer, best known for cover of Prince’s ‘Nothing Compares 2 U’, was found dead at her London flat in July

Isobel Lewis
Tuesday 09 January 2024 13:54 GMT
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Fans leave heartfelt messages for Sinead O'Connor in book of condolence

Sinéad O’Connor’s cause of death has been disclosed, six months after the Irish musician died aged 56.

The “Nothing Compares 2 U” singer’s death was announced on 26 July, after she was found unresponsive at her home in Herne Hill, south London.

O’Connor was pronounced dead at the scene. While no cause of death was given at the time, local police said that her death was not being treated as suspicious.

On Tuesday (9 January), the coroner shared that Dublin-born O’Connor died of natural causes.

In a statement, a spokesperson for Southwark Coroners Court said: “This is to confirm that Ms O’Connor died of natural causes. The coroner has therefore ceased their involvement in her death.”

The Brit Award winner was buried in Bray, County Wicklow, in August, in a ceremony attended by Irish officials, family, friends and her fellow musicians.

U2’s Bono, Bob Geldof and Irish president Michael D Higgins were among the guests, with a procession passing by O’Connor’s old home in Bray, Co Wicklow, where thousands of fans lined the streets.

O’Connor, on stage in 2003
O’Connor, on stage in 2003 (Getty Images)

In the days after her death, Geldof remembered O’Connor as a “very good friend of mine” and recalled his last exchanges with her.

“Many, many times Sinead was full of a terrible loneliness and a terrible despair. She was a very good friend of mine,” he said.

“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.”

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O’Connor’s death came months after the death of her 17-year-old son Shane, who died by suicide in January 2022.

In the wake of her son’s death, O’Connor said that she would never perform again as there was “nothing to sing about”, and subsequently cancelled her forthcoming tour dates. She published a heartfelt post about her son’s death in the days before her own death.

One month after their mother died, her three children issued a public statement thanking the “countless” supporters who had shared their condolences and well wishes after her death.

Fans of O'Connor line the streets as her funeral cortege passes through her former hometown of Bray, Co Wicklow in August
Fans of O'Connor line the streets as her funeral cortege passes through her former hometown of Bray, Co Wicklow in August (PA)

“The children of Sinéad together with Sinéad’s extended family wish to thank the countless kind people who sympathised and offered condolences on Sinéad’s recent passing,” they wrote in The Irish Times.

“Their helpful support for the family is much appreciated.”

Mere hours before her cause of death was shared on Tuesday, it had been announced that a special tribute concert to O’Connor and the late Pogues frontman Shane MacGowan will be taking place at Carnegie Hall in New York in March.

Irish singers Glen Hansard, David Gray, Dropkick Murphys, Cat Power and Amanda Palmer are among the musicians taking part, with more to be announced.

O’Connor and MacGowan, both of whom died last year, had known each other for years. The pair first met in the Eighties and went on to record the song “Haunted” for the 1986 film Sid and Nancy together.

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 jo@samaritans.org, or visit the Samaritans website to find details of your nearest branch.

If you are based in the USA, and you or someone you know needs mental health assistance right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Helpline on 1-800-273-TALK (8255). This is a free, confidential crisis hotline that is available to everyone 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

If you are in another country, you can go to www.befrienders.org to find a helpline near you.

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