Obituary

O'Riordan 'feeling good' and 'gigging' last month

Frontman Dolores O’Riordan (above) performing at the 23th edition of the Cognac Blues Passion festival in Cognac in July 2016.
Frontman Dolores O’Riordan (above) performing at the 23th edition of the Cognac Blues Passion festival in Cognac in July 2016.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Death of The Cranberries' lead singer in London comes as a shock as she had seemed to be in good spirits before Christmas

LONDON • Before Christmas, fans of The Cranberries' frontman Dolores O'Riordan were happy to know she was active again.

"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," she posted on Facebook.

But on Monday, they were devastated to hear that the Irish singer-songwriter had died, aged 46.

Her publicist said O'Riordan was in London for a short recording session, but "no further details are available at this time".

A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police said they were called to a hotel in Westminster at about 9.05am. Her death is being treated as "unexplained".

The news sparked a torrent of tributes, with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar calling O'Riordan "the voice of a generation".

"For anyone who grew up in Ireland in the 1990s, The Cranberries were an iconic band, who captured all of the angst that came with your teenager years," he added.

You go through life, and then you realise you only live once and that there are some things you might have lost or given away when you were young, so you go back to find them.

THE CRANBERRIES’ DOLORES O’RIORDAN on her personal life

O'Riordan, from Friarstown in the Irish county of Limerick, will be buried in Ireland, according to a parish priest in her home town.

Mr James Walton, priest at Ballybricken and Bohermore parish, said her family "is very devastated".

They are "still waiting for more details to come from London about her death", he added. "The plan is for her to be buried here at home. When that will be will depend on when her body is released."

The Cranberries, who have sold more than 40 million albums worldwide, arrived during the early 1990s' ascendance of alternative rock: tuneful, punk-derived, guitar-driven songs that often made their way from college-radio playlists to commercial radio.

In the band, her voice - high and breathy, but far more determined than fragile - rode atop a rich wash of electric guitars. Her unmistakable Irish accent and Celtic inflections of her melodies gave her singing a plaintive individuality and a flinty core.

Their debut 1993 album Everyone Else Is Doing It, So Why Can't We? included hit single Linger.

Follow-up 1994 album No Need To Argue went to No. 1 in Australia, France and Germany, and No. 6 in the United States. The album also gave rise to politically charged single Zombie, an angry response to the deadly Northern Ireland conflict, which hit No. 1 across Europe.

After Zombie, The Cranberries lost much of their pop audience as their late-1990s albums grew harsher and more concerned with sociopolitical messages than love songs. They went on a hiatus in 2003, with O'Riordan saying "we were stuck in a rut. We just needed a break".

She headed to Canada and gave birth to her third child.

In 2007, she released her first solo album Are You Listening?.

Six years after The Cranberries' split, the group reunited in 2009 and began touring again.

Of the transition from domestic bliss to life on the road, she said: "At home, I'm a housekeeper and a mum. The kids are, like, 'What's for dinner? Where are my clothes?'. On tour, it's like 'room service'."

The Cranberries released the acoustic album Something Else last year and had plans to perform in Europe and North America. But they were forced to cancel 14 concerts last year due to "medical reasons associated with a back problem" for O'Riordan.

Her personal life was also not pain-free. In a 2012 interview, she said: "Anyone who gets famous so quickly and so young, you're bound to be a bit of a casualty in some fashion. You go through life, and then you realise you only live once and that there are some things you might have lost or given away when you were young, so you go back to find them."

In 2014, she got divorced from Mr Don Burton, former tour manager of Duran Duran, with whom she had three children.

That year, she also hit the headlines after pleading guilty to assaulting three police officers and a flight attendant during a flight from New York to Ireland.

She was diagnosed with bipolar disorder shortly afterwards.

But after news of her death broke on Monday, fans chose to remember her in a better light.

British synth band Duran Duran posted on their official Twitter page that "we are crushed to hear the news about the passing of Dolores O'Riordan. Our thoughts go out to her family at this terrible time".

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, WASHINGTON POST, NYTIMES

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 17, 2018, with the headline 'O'Riordan 'feeling good' and 'gigging' last month'. Print Edition | Subscribe