The "Something Else" album cover with Dolores O’Riordan and her bandmates in The Cranberries.

RIP Dolores O’Riordan, Beloved Irish Songbird

Dolores O’Riordan is a longtime heroine to pro-lifers and Catholics because she boldly called for universal human rights.

Dolores O’Riordan, world-famous singer and songwriter of The Cranberries, has died. She was in London to record a new album and her body was found in her room at the London Hilton. Her family and bandmates are requesting privacy as they grieve her loss. O’Riordan is survived by her ex-husband, Don Burton, and her three children, Taylor Baxter, Molly Leigh and Dakota Rain. The Cranberries announced the tragic news on their website and social media with a note by guitarist Noel Hogan, bassist Mike Hogan, and drummer Fergal Lawler.

“Irish and international singer Dolores O’Riordan died suddenly in London on Monday 15th January 2018. She was 46 years old. The lead singer with the Irish band The Cranberries, was in London for a short recording session. No further details are available at this time.

“Family members are devastated to hear the breaking news and have requested privacy at this very difficult time.”

“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. Noel, Mike and Fergal”

The Cranberries founded their band in Limerick City, Ireland. The band believes they are best known for their songs “Linger,” “Zombie” and “Dreams.” They took a six-year hiatus and 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.

Dolores O’Riordan is a longtime heroine to pro-lifers and Catholics because her art boldly calls for universal human rights, and this is especially poignant as they prepare to attend the national March for Life on Friday 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.”

On Facebook, 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.”

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.

“I recall with fondness the late Limerick TD Jim Kemmy’s introduction of her and The Cranberries to me, and the pride he and so many others took in their successes.

“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.

Father James Walton, a priest at Ballybricken and Bohermore Catholic Parish, told The Irish Times that her funeral will take place in County Limerick: “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.

“Her family are still waiting for more details to come from London about her death. 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’ producer Stephen Street remembers 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.”

Written By
Anita Crane is a writer and editor at SCENES Media.
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