Shock and sadness greet sudden death of Limerick's Dolores O'Riordan

Aine Fitzgerald and Alan Owens

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Aine Fitzgerald and Alan Owens

Dolores O'Riordan performing at the City of Culture celebrations in Limerick on December 31, 2013 Picture: Ken Coleman

Dolores O'Riordan performing at the City of Culture celebrations in Limerick on December 31, 2013 Picture: Ken Coleman

TRIBUTES have been paid following the sudden death of rock star and Limerick woman Dolores O’Riordan.

While the circumstances of the 46-year-old's death are as yet unknown, it has been confirmed that the frontwoman of The Cranberries - a native of Ballybricken - passed away suddenly in a London hotel this Monday.

A spokesperson who represented the singer confirmed to the Leader: "Irish and international singer Dolores O’Riordan has died suddenly in London today. 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," added the spokesperson of the Limerick woman, who had three children.

Police in London have said that officers were called to a hotel in Park Lane at around 9am this Monday morning. They said a woman in her mid-40s was "pronounced dead at the scene".

"At this stage the death is being treated as unexplained. Enquiries continue."

Family friend Canon Liam McNamara said: "My heart goes out to the family. Dolores was their pride and joy. We all loved her very, very much.

"She got on well all the way through her life. I was very disappointed to hear today that she has left us so early in life. Her family did so much for her and supported her all the way through," added the priest, who was a co-celebrant at Dolores' wedding to tour manager of rock band Duran Duran, Don Burton in Holycross Abbey in County Tipperary in 1994 and also officiated at the funeral Mass of Dolores' father Terry in Ballybricken in 2011, confirmed to the Limerick Leader

Fr James Walton, priest in Dolores' home parish of Ballybricken, also expressed his deepest sympathies to the family.

“I wish to extend my deepest sympathies to the family. I am just going down to meet the family now,” he added.

Dolores shot to fame in the early 1990s as frontwoman of The Cranberries. The Ballybricken native auditioned for the band after the departure of its previous lead singer and they would go on to sell over 40 million records worldwide.

The Limerick group became a global rock sensation and one of the most successful bands of the ‘90s. They earned worldwide fame for hits including Zombie, Linger and Dreams. O’Riordan’s unique vocals featured on the band’s five original albums before taking a hiatus in 2003. The singer released two solo albums during the break.

The Cranberries reformed in 2009. In 2017, the group cancelled their European and US tours due to illness after Dolores cited back issues.

Just last year, The Cranberries released new album Something Else, featuring acoustic versions of their hits recorded with the Limerick-based Irish Chamber Orchestra’s string quartet, along with three new songs, last year.

They had played in Belfast and Dublin last summer, but not in their native city. They did play a short set in Thomond Park stadium in June 2010 for the Special Olympics opening ceremony.

President of Ireland Michael D Higgins has issued a statement follow the death of the Limerick woman.

"It is with great sadness that I have learned of the death of Dolores O’Riordan, musician, singer and song writer," he said.

"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 all those who follow and support Irish music, Irish musicians and the performing arts, her death will be a big loss.”

Limerick TD Jan O'Sullivan said she was "saddened to hear of the sudden death".

"My thoughts first and foremost are with her family. Dolores was an iconic figure of 90s Irish music. The music Dolores made has touched many people. Her talent and that of her bandmates put Limerick on the map musically. Ar dheis dé go raibh a anam dilís."

Josepha Madigan TD, Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, said she was "very saddened" at the news and paid tribute to the Cranberries' frontwoman as "an enormously successful artist internationally, first as part of the Cranberries and then as a solo artist. She made a huge contribution to the arts internationally, with millions of record sales worldwide.

"She was an inspiration to many across the world and had a truly unique voice. Her haunting vocals on classics such as Linger and Zombie will live on forever.

"I’d like to pass on my condolences to her family at what must be a very difficult time for them."

Mayor of Limerick Cllr Stephen Keary has said that a book of condolence would be opened as he paid tribute to the Cranberries singer.

"On behalf of the people of Limerick, I would like to express my deepest sympathies to Dolores’s family following her sudden death. The news has come to a shock to me as well the millions of fans she had in Limerick and around the world," he said.

"Dolores was a phenomenal talent and a gifted singer. She and The Cranberries were the soundtrack to many young people’s lives during the early part of the decade.

"She was an international success, but never forgot her Ballybricken roots. My thoughts are with her three children and her family who have lost a loving mother, daughter and sister, while the world has lost an amazing singer, songwriter and major talent," he added.

The book of condolence will be opened at Limerick City and County Council’s Corporate Headquarters at Merchant’s Quay in Limerick tomorrow, Tuesday, at 10am.

An online book of condolence will also be opened at www.limerick.ie at 10am.​