Dolores O’Riordan, the tormented and talented lead singer of the Cranberries, has died at the tragically young age of 46.
O’Riordan’s death – which reports say has left her family devastated – was confirmed by a publicist for the Irish singer on January 15, 2018, although few specifics were provided. The Associated Press reported that O’Riordan died “suddenly.”
Here’s what you need to know:
1. O’Riordan Died in London Where She Was Attending a Recording Session
Details about O’Riordan’s untimely death were not yet clear when the news broke on January 15, 2018. However, her publicist confirmed the sad news in a statement to BBC. “The lead singer with the Irish band The Cranberries was in London for a short recording session. No further details are available at this time,” the statement read.
About a month ago, Dolores had written on the band’s Facebook page: “Hi All, Dolores here. Feeling good! I did my first bit of gigging in months at the weekend, performed a few songs at the Billboard annual staff holiday party in New York with the house band. Really enjoyed it! Happy Christmas to all our fans!! Xo.”
According to The New York Times, O’Riordan was found dead around 9 a.m. at the Park Lane Hotel in Westminster, and the death was “unexplained.”
2. O’Riordan Was the Mother of Three Who Said She Loved ‘Being a Mum’
According to People Magazine, O’Riordan “is survived by her three children, 20-year-old son Taylor, 16-year-old daughter Molly and 12-year-old daughter Dakota.”
She was no longer together with the father of her children. “O’Riordan split from her husband of 20 years, Don Burton in 2014. She and Burton, who is the former tour manager of Duran Duran, have three children together,” BBC reported. She described the importance of her children to the Irish News, saying, “The best time in my life was the years spent at home with my family. I love being a mum. My kids don’t see me as a famous person, or have any kind of expectation; I’m just their mum.”
O’Riordan told the Irish News: “I’ve been singing since I was five years old. By the time I was 12, I was writing my own songs so, yeah, music has always been part of me. To be honest, I’ve never imagined doing anything else. I think at one time though, my mum, who’s deeply religious, might have had a notion of me becoming a nun!”
3. O’Riordan Helped the Cranberries Reach International Acclaim
O’Riordan, who was originally from Limerick, Ireland, “led the band to international success in the 90s with singles including Linger and Zombie,” BBC notes.
According to IMDB, O’Riordan was born Dolores Mary Eileen O’Riordan in Ballybricken, “a town 8 miles outside Limerick on Sept. 6, 1971. Her parents are Eileen and Terrance. Terrance was in a wheelchair due to a motorcycle accident.”
It was a large family. “Dolores is the youngest of seven children; she is one of two girls. In the late eighties, Dolores met up with her band members-to-be. Feargal Lawler of Parteen, and Mike and Noel Hogan of Moycross gave Dolores the music to their future hit ‘Linger,'” reports IMDB. “She came back the next day with lyrics. It took some time for The Cranberries to take off, very emotionally impacting Dolores who was overcome with frustration.”
4. O’Riordan Had Some Recent Troubles in Her Life But Also Great Success
O’Riordan was a music pioneer. “As lead vocalist of the Cranberries, Dolores O’Riordan was one of the most visible females in early-’90s alternative rock,” reports All Music in a biography on her life. According to the bio, the band initially had a different name. It was called Cranberry Saw Us when she first auditioned for it.
After the audition, O’Riordan “received the position of lead singer, having impressed her future bandmates with her lilting vocals. The group soon changed its name to the Cranberries and began releasing demo material, which sparked the interest of several major labels,” All Music reports.
O’Riordan’s life had some ups and downs, although she achieved great successes. “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),” AP reported.
She was sued by a nanny who made all kinds of incendiary accusations that O’Riordan denied. “The singer had been described as a neurotic who would sometimes repeatedly iron the same item. In the evenings, it was alleged, she would on occasion insist her sleeping child was woken and bathed so that she could have a lie-in the next morning,” The Telegraph reported.
According to UK Mirror, O’Riordan “suffered vile abuse at the hands of a sexual predator when she was just eight. After that came anorexia, a nervous breakdown, a bipolar diagnosis and a suicide attempt.”
5. Dolores Was Recently Suffering From Back Problems, Leading the Band to Cancel Its Summer Tour
The Cranberries had revealed that O’Riordan was suffering from back problems in an Instagram message posted last summer. The band wrote:
“Thanks for the many good wishes to Dolores posted on our social pages since the announcement of the cancellation of all our Summer shows up to mid August due to her ongoing back problem. There have been some comments suggesting that Dolores could perform if she sat while singing. Unfortunately it is not as simple as that. Dolores’ back problem is in the mid to upper area of her spine and the breathing and diaphragmatic movements associated with singing put pressure on the muscles and nerves in that area and exacerbate the pain. Sitting does not give any relief and at times in her case it can actually worsen the pain. Please be assured that we would not have cancelled these shows if there was any way that Dolores could perform them. We are extremely disappointed that we have had to do so and again sincerely apologise to all affected and hope to get back to see you all at some time hopefully in the not too distant future when Dolores has recovered.”