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Sinead O'Connor's cause of death revealed months after sudden passing

A London coroner's office has revealed the results of its autopsy on Irish musician and activist Sinead O'Connor.
Sinead O'Connor's cause of death revealed months after sudden passing
Posted at 2:01 PM, Jan 09, 2024

A London coroner's office has revealed Sinéad O'Connor's cause of death, months after the Irish musician unexpectedly died at the age of 56.

In a brief statement Tuesday, London's Southwark Coroner's Court said O'Connor died of natural causes, meaning her passing was due to an internal condition and not at the hands of herself or another person. The coroner said this finding ceases the office's involvement in her death and that "no further comments will be made" on the case.

O'Connor was found unresponsive at a South London home on July 26, 2023, and the coroner's office said it would be conducting an autopsy after finding no medical cause of death.

The songwriter's family shared a statement after her death, writing, "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."

SEE MORE: Sinéad O'Connor, gifted and provocative Irish singer, dies at 56

Born in Dublin, O'Connor stepped into stardom with her 1987 debut album, "The Lion and the Cobra" and the debut of her now infamous buzzcut. But her 1990 album, "I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got," made her an international sensation with her cover of Prince's "Nothing Compares 2 U," which became a worldwide hit. 

Between 1987 and 2014, O'Connor released 10 studio albums, but in between and outside of it all, she became known for more than just her music, as she continuously spoke out about social causes and world issues.

The singer's shaved head was something of an act of defiance itself against record executives who pushed her to appear more "feminine" by industry standards. 

She then refused to perform in 1990 if the U.S. national anthem was played before one of her concerts, to the criticism of some high-profile celebrities and the public. The next year, she refused to accept her Grammy Award for Best Alternative Music Performance after criticizing the American music industry for promoting materialistic success instead of artistic value. 

In 1992, O'Connor drew further controversy after infamously ripping up a photo of Pope John Paull II during a "Saturday Night Live" performance to protest sexual abuse within the Catholic Church and told viewers to "fight the real enemy." She later wrote in her 2021 memoir "Rememberings" that she didn't regret the act, saying it "re-railed" — not derailed, as many assumed — her career as a "protest singer."

O'Connor was open about her mental health struggles through the years, particularly after the mother of four's 17-year-old son Shane died by suicide 18 months before her death. After a series of concerning posts on then-Twitter, O'Connor admitted herself to a hospital.

A multitude of celebrity social media posts and performances were dedicated to O'Connor in the days after her death, and thousands of fans took to the streets to mourn during her funeral procession in August.

The same day her cause of death was announced, a tribute concert to O'Connor and The Pogues' lead vocalist Shane MacGowan, who also died in 2023, was announced. It will take place in New York City's Carnegie Hall on March 20.

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