Cranberries singer Dolores O’Riordan dead at 46

Dolores O’Riordan, whose urgent, powerful voice helped make Irish rock band The Cranberries a global success in the 1990s, died suddenly on Monday at a London hotel. She was 46.

The singer’s publicist, Lindsey Holmes, confirmed she died in London, where she was recording,

“No further details are available at this time,” Holmes said, adding that the singer’s family was “devastated” by the news. O’Riordan is survived by her Canadian ex-husband, the former Duran Duran tour manager Don Burton, and their three children. The family spent years splitting their time between Ireland and a home north of Peterborough, Ont., which is about 90 minutes northeast of Toronto.

London’s Metropolitan Police force said officers were called just after 9 a.m. Monday to a hotel where a woman in her 40s was found dead. The police force said the death was being treated as “unexplained.”

The Hilton Hotel in London’s Park Lane confirmed that a guest had died on the premises.

Irish President Michael D. Higgins said O’Riordan and The Cranberries “had an immense influence on rock and pop music in Ireland and internationally.”

“To all those who follow and support Irish music, Irish musicians and the performing arts, her death will be a big loss,” Higgins said in a statement.

O’Riordan was born on Sept. 6, 1971 in Ballybricken, southwest Ireland. In 1990, she answered an ad from a local band in nearby Limerick city — then called The Cranberry Saw Us — that was looking for a lead singer.

A name change and a confluence of factors turned The Cranberries into international stars. Their guitar-based sound had an alternative-rock edge at a time when grunge was storming the music scene.

The band’s songs — on which O’Riordan was chief lyricist and co-songwriter — had a Celtic-infused tunefulness. And in O’Riordan they had a charismatic lead singer with a distinctively powerful voice.

Heavy play on MTV for their debut single “Dream” and the singles that followed helped bring the group to the attention of a mass audience.

The Cranberries’ 1993 debut album, “Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We?”, sold millions of copies and produced the hit single “Linger.”

The follow-up, “No Need to Argue,” sold in even greater numbers and contained “Zombie,” a visceral howl against Northern Ireland’s violent Troubles that topped singles charts in several countries.

The band released three more studio albums before splitting up in 2003. O’Riordan released a solo album, “Are You Listening,” in 2007, and another, “No Baggage,” in 2009.

The members of The Cranberries reunited that year, releasing the album “Roses” in 2012.

For a time, O’Riordan was one of Ireland’s richest women, but she struggled with both physical and mental health problems.

The Cranberries released the acoustic album “Something Else” in 2017 and had been due to tour Europe and North America. The tour was cut short because O’Riordan was suffering from back problems.

In 2014, O’Riordan was accused of assaulting three police officers and a flight attendant during a flight from New York to Ireland. She pleaded guilty and was fined 6,000 euros ($6,600.)

Medical records given to the court indicated she was mentally ill at the time of the altercation. After her court hearing O’Riordan urged other people suffering mental illness to seek help.

She told London’s Metro newspaper last year that she had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and she spoke to the Irish News about her battles with depression.

O’Riordan said depression “is one of the worst things to go through,” but that “I’ve also had a lot of joy in my life, especially with my children.”

“You get ups as well as downs. Sure, isn’t that what life’s all about?” she said.

 

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