Dolores O’Riordan, the Limerick-born singer of The Cranberries, has died in London of causes that were not immediately announced. She was 46.
O’Riordan’s publicist told the Associated Press that she had been in the city for a short recording session, adding “Family members are devastated to hear the news and have requested privacy at this very difficult time.” Metropolitan Police in London confirmed only that “a woman in her mid 40s was pronounced dead at the scene” and said, “At this early stage the death is being treated as unexplained.”
Former Kinks guitarist Dave Davies wrote on Twitter Monday: “I’m really shocked that Dolores O’Riordan has passed so suddenly – I was talking to her a couple weeks before Christmas she seemed happy and well – we even spoke about maybe writing some songs together – unbelievable god bless her.”
The Cranberries rose to success in the 1990s with hits like “Linger” and “Zombie.” Their 1993 debut album “Everyone Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We?” reached no. 1 on the UK and Irish Album Charts, and no. 18 on the U.S. Billboard 200 Album chart. The band released five studio albums, The Cranberries have sold over 40 million records worldwide. The band went on hiatus in 2003, but reunited in 2009 for a North American tour, and also played shows in Latin America and Europe.
O’Riordan was the main songwriter for The Cranberries alongside guitarist Noel Hogan. She was known for her strong Limerick accent, and had released two solo albums, 2007’s “Are You Listening?” and 2009’s “No Baggage.”
She told Rolling Stone in 1995 that she sang from a young age. “My mom always had a softer spot for boys, as a lot of Irish women do,” she said. “If you were a girl, you’d have to sing or wear a pretty dress. But boys could just sit there and be brilliant for sitting there and being boys. It makes you that little bit more forward. Pushy. I was singing, always.”
The band was formed in Limerick in 1989 by Noel Hogan, his bassist brother Mike and drummer Fergal Lawler; its name was originally The Cranberry Saw Us. O’Riordan joined later and brought with her a demo of “Linger.” The group released a three-song EP called “Nothing Left at All” and changed their name to the Cranberries. They signed with Island in 1991 and began work on their debut album early the following year with Smiths/Blur producer Stephen Street, spawning minor hit singles with “Dreams” and “Linger.”
The group broke through with its second album, “No Need to Argue,” which was released late in 1994 and was a global hit, going multiplatinum in several countries — and seven-times platinum in the U.S. The group’s subsequent albums sold well — the 1996 follow-up, “To the Faithful Departed,” is double-platinum in the U.S. — but in gradually diminishing quantities. Four of its five albums reached Billboard 200.
In 2014 O’Riordan formed a group called Jetlag (later changed to D.A.R.K.) with former Smiths bassist Andy Rourke and DJ/musician Ole Korersky; they released their debut album in 2016.
O’Riordan was arrested in 2014 in an air-rage incident on an Aer Lingus flight in which an attendant was injured; the singer later apologized to the attendant, whom she apparently had known for years, and was ordered by an Irish judge to pay €6,000 to the poor box and left with no criminal conviction. Also in that year she split from her husband of 20 years, former Duran Duran tour manager Don Burton, with whom she had three children.
She announced in 2017 that she had been diagnosed with bi-polar disorder, and the Cranberries cancelled multiple tour dates that year, citing ongoing back problems suffered by O’Riordan.
On Jan. 3 of this year, she tweeted a photo of herself with her cat that reads “Bye bye Gio. We’re off to Ireland.”