Irish singer Sinead O'Connor dies aged 56

Irish pop singer Sinead O'Connor, who shot to worldwide fame in the 1990s, has died at the age of 56.

DUBLIN - Irish pop singer Sinead O'Connor, who shot to worldwide fame in the 1990s, has died at the age of 56, Irish media reported on Wednesday.

Her family said it was with "great sadness that we announce the passing of our beloved Sinead. Her family and friends are devastated and have requested privacy at this very difficult time," Irish national broadcaster RTE reported.

Born in County Dublin, O'Connor made 10 albums in her career from "I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got" to 2014's "I'm not Bossy, I'm the Boss", and was best known for her cover of Prince's "Nothing Compares 2 U", released in 1990.

Ireland's President Michael Higgins said Ireland had lost "one of our greatest and most gifted composers, songwriters and performers of recent decades".

He praised O'Connor's "fearless commitment to the important issues which she brought to public attention, no matter how uncomfortable those truths may have been".

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said O'Connor's "music was loved around the world and her talent was unmatched and beyond compare".

"Condolences to her family, her friends and all who loved her music," he added.

Instantly recognisable with her trademark shaved head, O'Connor courted controversy throughout her career, speaking out frequently against the Catholic Church.

In recent years O'Connor had melded her outspoken political views with spiritualism and was ordained as a priest amid controversy in 1999.

She later converted to Islam, changing her name to Shuhada' Sadaqat in 2018.

O'Connor had also spoken publicly about her mental health struggles, telling Oprah Winfrey in 2007 that she struggled with thoughts of suicide and had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

More recently she had shunned the limelight, in particular following the death of her son Shane from suicide last year at the age of 17.

O'Connor is survived by three children and had reportedly been dividing her time between Ireland and Britain prior to her death.

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