Sudden death of Irish pop icon Dolores devastates fans

Dolores O’Riordan (pictured), the lead singer with the Irish band Cranberries, left her family, friends and fans devastated with her sudden death at the age of 46 in a London hotel on Monday (Jan 15).

She had come to the city for a short recording session.  Police in Westminster who were called to the hotel in Park Lane where she stayed said the death is being treated as “unexplained”.

Her family has requested privacy “at this very difficult time”. She is survived by her ex-husband Don Burton and three children, Taylor Baxter, Molly Leigh and Dakota Rain.

Her illness

In May last year, several Cranberries shows were cancelled because of Dolores’ medical condition — her back problem. Shows in North America planned for September and October were also dropped. On December 20, Dolores tweeted to her fans that she is feeling quite well and wished them a merry Christmas. They did not know that was her last Christmas greeting.

Tributes flow

Among the first to pay tributes to Dolores on Monday was Irish President Michael D Higgins. He said her death is a big loss to all those who follow and support Irish music.

Irish songwriter Hozier said Dolores’ voice threw into question what a voice could sound like in the context of rock, adding that he had never heard anyone use their instrument in that way.

American Pop singer Maggie Rogers said Dolores’ voice helped her understand her place in the world.

Family friend Canon Liam McNamara said Dolores was her family’s pride and joy and everyone who came to know her loved her very much.  McNamara said the singer’s family supported her all the way through.

Limerick TD (Teachta Dála, member of lower house of the Irish Parliament) Jan O’Sullivan said Dolores’ music touched many souls and her talent and that of her bandmates put Limerick on the musical map.

Josepha Madigan TD, Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, said Dolores was an inspiration to many across the world and she had a truly unique voice. Her haunting Linger and Zombie will live on forever, Madigan said.

Mayor of Limerick Stephen Keary described Dolores and her team as the soundtrack to many young people’s lives during the early part of the decade.

He said although she achieved international success, she never forgot her Ballybricken roots.

Dolores was born in Ballybricken, Limerick, in 1971, the youngest of seven children of Terence and Eileen O’Riordan. She joined The Cranberries in 1990.

From the very start, music lovers  on both sides of the Atlantic were drawn by her heartfelt vocals and west Irish accent.

The Cranberries became one of the biggest Irish bands of the 1990s, selling more than 40 million records over their career. Their most popular hits included Zombie and Linger.

They split up in 2003 and reformed in 2009. Last year, the band released an acoustic album Something Else. They had to cancel the European and North American tour because of Dolores’ ill-health.