Irish singer Sinéad O’Connor has died at the age of 56.
O'Connor sold millions of records in the 1990s with her ethereal ballads and rebellious anthems. The singer shaved her head, spoke out about mental health struggles, even protested the Catholic Church during a performance on live television. She continuously challenged the expectations of what a female pop star should act and dress like.
Her family announced the death in a statement Wednesday, released to Irish media and viewed by The Washington Post.
“It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our beloved Sinéad. Her family and friends are devastated and have requested privacy at this very difficult time,” the singer’s family said in the statement. A cause of death was not given.
Her death comes after her 17-year-old son, Shane O’Connor, died of an apparent suicide last year. She announced his passing in January of last year. Shortly after his death she publicly threatened to take her life and was soon hospitalized. Earlier this month, O’Connor tweeted that Shane “was the love of my life, the lamp of my soul,” adding that she was “lost … without him.”
O'Connor was born in Dublin and made as many headlines for her activism along with her music. In her career, she released 10 studio albums. The first was her 1987 alternative rock debut, The Lion and the Cobra.
In 2018, O'Connor converted to Islam and changed her name to Shuhada Sadaqat.
“This is to announce that I am proud to have become a Muslim,” she wrote on Twitter on October 2018. “This is the natural conclusion of any intelligent theologian’s journey. All scripture study leads to Islam. Which makes all other scriptures redundant.”
Her legacy lives on past her lifetime.