On January 15, world-famous Irish singer and songwriter Dolores O’Riordan of The Cranberries died in her room at the London Hilton, and she was in London to record a new album. Today, on her 47th birthday, London Coroner Shirley Radcliffe said O’Riordan died from drowning in her hotel bathtub due to alcohol intoxication. “There’s no evidence that this was anything other than an accident,” said Radcliffe.
The Cranberries posted the O’Riordan family’s reaction, and they requested privacy to grieve.
“The O’Riordan Family would like to thank the Coroner and staff of Westminster Coroner’s Court for their professionalism, care and sensitivity. We also want to acknowledge the assistance given by the Emergency Services, the London Metropolitan Police and Reverend Father Pedley S.J., who administered last rites.
“On January 15th 2018 we lost our much cherished and loved Dolores. We remain heartbroken and miss her every single day, even more so today as it would coincidentally have been her 47th birthday. We were profoundly shocked by Dolores’s sudden death. She had many plans, both personal and professional, for her future.
“Dolores’s legions of fans from all over the world knew her as a hugely talented songwriter, feisty performer and as an energetic and charismatic young woman possessed of a unique singing voice. We knew our Dolores as a loyal daughter, fun-loving sister and above all a dedicated loving mother to her children Taylor, Molly and Dakota.
“We are immensely proud of Dolores’s many achievements. Coming from rural County Limerick, our Dolores dared to dream the impossible dream and achieved phenomenal global success and fame in her chosen career. She was a very determined and strong-minded person, traits that were evident from an early age. If you asked Dolores as a young child what she wanted to be when she grew up, she would look you in the eye and tell you she was going to be a rock star. Simple as that.
“Fame, however, can sometimes bring with it a heavy burden, and as a family, we want to acknowledge that Dolores’s life was not without challenges, particularly in the past few years. She was receiving the best professional care available to help her overcome these challenges.
“Since her untimely passing, the entire O’Riordan Family has taken great comfort from the sheer volume of love and respect shown for Dolores. We want to thank relatives and friends from all over as well as her worldwide fan community for their kind words and prayers. “Your letters, cards and tributes continue to be a source of solace for Dolores’s children, her mother Eileen, her sister Angela and her brothers Terence, Brendan, Donal, Joseph and PJ.
“Dolores is at peace now resting beside her late father Terry in her local cemetery in Ballybricken, County Limerick, Ireland.
“May she rest forever in peace.”
A rare role model
Dolores O’Riordan is a longtime heroine to pro-lifers and Catholics because her art boldly calls for universal human rights, so her death was especially poignant as they prepared to attend the 2018 March for Life in Washington, D.C.
“The first album I ever bought was The Cranberries’ ‘Everybody Else is Doing It, So Why Can’t We?’” said Phil Eddy, chairman of the board for Rehumanize International in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. They are publishers of Life Matters Journal. “Dolores O’Riordan was polite but political, tiny but powerful, and was adored by tens of millions of fans worldwide. Her advocacy for the forgotten children touched by war, poverty, famine, abuse, and abortion was something to admire. She will be missed.”
Peter Wolfgang, executive director of the Family Institute of Connecticut in Hartford, explained how O’Riordan inspired him.
“I was 25 years old in 1995, the height of the grunge rock era, and sharing a house with fellow law school students in which I was the only pro-lifer. One of them had a subscription to Rolling Stone magazine. Imagine my pleasant surprise when I picked it up off the coffee table and read this about the lead singer of The Cranberries, at a time when the group was at its hottest.”
The stunning excerpt from O’Riordan’s 1995 interview by Alec Foege for Rolling Stone says:
Not that the freewheeling possibilities of a rock lifestyle have totally swayed O’Riordan from her conservative Irish Catholic roots. Although she deems Madonna “clever,” she marvels at the quick-to-strip pop icon for not possessing the moral fortitude “that obviously would stop her from doing all those crazy things that she does in her videos.” And don’t count on O’Riordan as an ally in defending abortion: “I’m in no position to judge other women, you know? But, I mean, ‘Idiot — why didn’t you not get pregnant?’ It’s not good for women to go through the procedure and have something living sucked out of your bodies. It belittles women — even though some women say, ‘Oh, I don’t mind to have one.’ Every time a woman has an abortion, it just crushes her self-esteem, smaller and smaller and smaller.”
“So, thank you, Dolores O’Riordan,” said Wolfgang. “I don’t know much else about you but I’ll always remember that time you spoke the unspeakable truth. Rest in peace.”
In honor of Delores, her mother Eileen O’Riordan asked Irish citizens to vote No on repealing the 8th Amendment of their constitution, which outlawed abortion on demand, and you may read more about Mrs. O’Riordan’s passionate campaign here.
The Cranberries’ said their biggest hits are “Linger,” “Zombie,” and “Dreams.” After a six-year hiatus, they reunited in late 2009 to tour select cities in North America, South America and Europe. In 2012, they performed in China, Japan, the Philippines, Australia and New Zealand as well as Continental Europe, the UK and the USA. In 2017, the band planned to tour Europe and North America to promote their album “Something Else,” but they had to stop because O’Riordan was suffering a back ailment. In May last year, O’Riordan revealed that she also suffered from bipolar disorder.
At first, guitarist Noel Hogan, bassist Mike Hogan, and drummer Fergal Lawler announced: “We are devastated on the passing of our friend Dolores. She was an extraordinary talent and we feel very privileged to have been part of her life from 1989 when we started The Cranberries. The world has lost a true artist today.”
October 19 the band will release the 25th anniversary special edition of their album “Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We?” After the inquest news, The Cranberries continue mourning the death of their friend, they “continue to struggle to come to terms with what happened,” but find consolation “To see how much of a positive impact she had on people ’s lives has been a source of great comfort to us.”
Dolores O’Riordan had the honor of performing at the Vatican for Pope Saint John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI, and Pope Francis. She and The Cranberries played many Christmas concerts and O’Riordan sang duets with the likes of opera star Luciano Pavarotti.
Irish president Michael Higgins said he learned of O’Riordan’s death “with great sadness.”
“Dolores O’Riordan and The Cranberries had an immense influence on rock and pop music in Ireland and internationally. . .
“To her family and all those who follow and support Irish music, Irish musicians and the performing arts her death will be a big loss,” Higgins concluded.
In January, Father James Walton, a priest at Ballybricken and Bohermore Catholic Parish, told The Irish Times: “Her family is very devastated and upset. The suddenness of her death has been a shock. I met Dolores two or three times when she was home visiting family. She was a lovely lady.”
The Cranberries’ producer Stephen Street remembered her in Rolling Stone:
“Dolores gave so much of herself at the gigs and continued to do so over the next decade or so. Perhaps she could have tempered her behavior and been more measured but that wasn’t her way. She was a little firebrand that kept everybody on their toes and when she got it ‘right’ in the studio with her vocal performances, the session would come alight. . . .
“RIP my Irish Songbird.”