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Wildly Talented and Often Controversial Singer Sinead O'Connor Dies at Age 56

Irish singer-songwriter Sinead O’Connor has passed away at age 56. 

O’Connor, who rose to international fame with her rendition of Prince’s “Nothing Compares 2 U,” was found “unresponsive” and pronounced dead at the scene this Wednesday, the 26th of July.

No cause of death has been released to the public and an autopsy is yet to be conducted. Her family announced the news of her passing on Wednesday saying, "Her family and friends are devastated.” 

O’Connor’s life was filled with both fame and scandal, due to her often polarising acts of activism. Most famously, in 1992 the singer performed a Bob Marley song live on the popular American tv show Saturday Night Live. She altered the lyrics to protest the high levels of sexual abuse of children in the Catholic Church. The singer then proceeded to tear up a picture of Pope John Paul II, which she had taken from her dead mother’s house

The musician continued her passion for activism until her death. Music journalist Dave Fanning, who met with O’Connor over 200 times to conduct interviews and the like, stated that she always viewed herself as a protest singer. Fanning claims that O’Connor was always well aware of the impact her actions would have on her career

Part of the fuel for O’Connor’s anger and thus passionate activism was her troublesome childhood. O’Connor grew up in Dublin, Ireland, in a family wrought with physical and emotional abuse. Her parents separated when she was eight and she lived with her mother until her teen years. O’Connor’s brother, Joseph, has claimed that their mother was a “deeply unhappy and disturbed” woman

By the time O’Connor moved away to live with her father as a teenager, her devastating childhood had left many a scar. She turned to petty crimes and was soon sent away to Dublin's An Grianan Training Centre, which was previously a part of the Magdalene Laundries. O’Connor came to describe the centre as a “prison where girls cried every night.”  It was a nun at the centre that decided to encourage O’Connor to attend music lessons, in hopes of quelling her rebellious spirit

The music world has shown an outpouring of sorrow for the loss of the beloved, yet often controversial Irish singer.

Well-known English singer, Alison Moyet, said Sinead O’Connor had a “Voice that cracked stone with force & by increment. As beautiful as any girl around & never traded on that card. I Loved that about her. Iconoclast.”

Tim Burgess, lead singer of the Charlatans, posted, “Sinead was the true embodiment of a punk spirit. She did not compromise and that made her life more of a struggle. Hoping that she has found peace.”

American musician, Bryan Adams, who worked with O’Connor on several projects said “RIP Sinéad O'Connor, I loved working with you making photos, doing gigs in Ireland together and chats, all my love to your family.”

Ultimately, all can agree that whilst her politics often left many divided, the haunting talent of the late Sinead O’Connor simply cannot be denied. 

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