Sinéad O’Connor, the acclaimed Irish singer best known for her moving cover of “Nothing Compares 2 U,” has died. She was 56.
O’Connor’s death was confirmed in a statement from her family to The Irish Times. The statement reads, “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.”
O’Connor’s career spans ten studio albums, with her final release being 2014’s I’m Not Bossy, I’m the Boss. She achieved worldwide stardom with her 1990 album I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got. It topped the album charts in 17 countries and sold seven million copies.
The album, of course, featured the cover of the Prince song “Nothing Compares 2 U,” which was a staple on MTV thanks to its evocative video. Like the album, the single was also a number-one hit and topped the singles charts in 22 countries.
Just two years later, O’Connor would infamously appear on Saturday Night Live as a musical guest. Following an a cappella performance of Bob Marley’s “War,” she held up a photo of Pope John Paul II, ripped it up and exclaimed, “Fight the real enemy.” O’Connor’s action was in protest to known sexual abuse within the Catholic Church. (Pope John Paul II finally acknowledged and apologized for the years of abuse committed and covered up by the Catholic Church in 2001.)
O’Connor struggled with a number of mental health disorders and publicly announced her diagnoses of bipolar disorder, complex post-traumatic stress disorder and borderline personality disorder. These announcements happened in the late ’90s and early 2000’s long before openly talking about mental health was accepted.