Sinéad O'Connor's Cause of Death Revealed: Everything We Know

The singer died in London on July 26.

Nearly six months after the world unexpectedly learned of the loss of world-famous singer Sinéad O'Connor, the official cause of her death has been revealed. 

Her family confirmed her death on July 26, 2023, telling RTE in a statement that "her family and friends are devastated and have requested privacy at this very difficult time." She was 56.

Before she died, O'Connor, who was open about her mental health struggles, had been mourning her son Shane's 2022 death by suicide. In fact, the tragedy was the topic of O'Connor's final post on Twitter.

After O'Connor died, tributes poured in for the singer, with stars performing her iconic cover of "Nothing Compares 2 U," sharing stories about her, and reflecting on the life she led.

Keep reading for a full timeline of the events leading up to and following O'Connor's death.

Michel Linssen/Redferns

July 17 -- Mourning a Tragedy

O'Connor's death came a year and a half after her son, Shane, died by suicide at age 17. Days before she died, O'Connor took to Twitter to reflect on the grief she felt since her tragic loss.

"Been living as undead night creature since.. He was the love of my life, the lamp of my soul," she wrote of her late son. "We were one soul in two halves. He was the only person who ever loved me unconditionally. I am lost in the bardo without him."

Years prior, O'Connor revealed in an interview with People that she'd instructed her children -- Jake, Roisin, Shane and Yeshua -- what to do immediately after her death.

"I've always instructed my children since they were very small, 'If your mother drops dead tomorrow, before you call 911, call my accountant and make sure the record companies don't start releasing my records and not telling you where the money is,'" she told the outlet in 2021. "See, when the artists are dead, they're much more valuable than when they're alive. Tupac has released way more albums since he died than he ever did alive, so it's kind of gross what record companies do."

July 26 -- O'Connor's Death

It was just nine days later that news of O'Connor's death broke, with her family confirming the tragedy in a statement to RTE.

"It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our beloved Sinéad," the statement read. "Her family and friends are devastated and have requested privacy at this very difficult time."

July 26 -- Tributes Aplenty

In the wake of the news, tributes poured in, with Russell Crowe sharing a personal story about his chance encounter with the Irish singer.

"Last year, working in Ireland, having a pint in the cold outside a Dalkey pub with some new friends, a woman with purpose strode past us. Puffy parker zipped to the nape and her bowed head covered in a scarf," Crowe recalled. "One of my new friends muttered an exclamation, jumped up and pursued the woman. Thirty metres down the road the friend and the woman embraced and he waived me over."

"There under streetlights with mist on my breath, I met Sinéad. She looked in my eyes, and uttered with disarming softness 'Oh, it’s you Russell'" he continued. "She came with us back to the table and sat in the cold and ordered a hot tea. In a conversation without fences we roamed through the recent Dublin heatwave, local politics, American politics, the ongoing fight for indigenous recognition in many places, but particularly in Australia, her warm memory of New Zealand, faith, music, movies and her brother the writer."

Crowe said that the conversation gave him "the opportunity to tell her she was a hero of mine."

"When her second cup was taking on the night air, she rose, embraced us all and strode away into the fog-dimmed streetlights," Crowe wrote. "We sat there the four of us and variously expressed the same thing. What an amazing woman. Peace be with your courageous heart Sinéad."

Jamie Lee Curtis also shared a story about O'Connor, recalling, "I once heard Sìnead sing a cappella in an empty chapel in Ireland. It was under construction at the private home of our host. It was one of the most beautiful things I've ever heard in my life."

"We then went together to see Eminem at a festival. I loved her. Her music. Her life. She was a victim of child abuse and a huge change agent for unfair and unjust draconian laws that she helped change in Ireland," Curtis wrote. "She was a warrior. She was a rebel. She ripped up a photograph that was on her mother's wall because of the hypocrisy of the abusive life she was raised in under the banner of the church. This is so sad. Watch the NOTHING COMPARES documentary. Brilliant. Heartbreaking. Rest well. Rest in power. Rest in peace."

For their part, Pink and Brandi Carlile teamed up to sing a stunning duet of "Nothing Compares 2 U" during the former's Summer Carnival tour.

Bob Geldof likewise paid tribute to O'Connor on stage, with the Boomtown Rats frontman telling the crowd that he had spoken to the singer a couple weeks ago, The Independent reported.

"Some of the texts were laden with desperation and despair and sorrow and some were ecstatically happy. And she was like that," he told the crowd.

Geldof and his band dedicated their performance to the singer, whom he told the crowd was "a very good friend of mine," as they grew up down the road from each other.

U2 remembered O'Connor on Instagram, with the band writing, "Touch these eyes with a broken smile, Touch my mouth with your furrowed brow, Lift my heart, heal my shame , Lead me into rest again .. Heroine.. Rest In Peace Sinéad."

Questlove called O'Connor "one of the nicest humans" and Conor McGregor noted that "the world has lost an artist with the voice of an Angel."

Glenn Close, Viola Davis and Olivia Wilde were among the other celebs to publicly mourn O'Connor.

Morrissey, the lead singer of the English rock band The Smiths, spoke out against all the tributes calling them hypocritical on his blog given many people's lack of support for O'Connor when she was alive.

"The cruel playpen of fame gushes with praise for Sinead today … with the usual moronic labels of 'icon' and 'legend.' You praise her now ONLY because it is too late," he wrote in part. "You hadn’t the guts to support her when she was alive and she was looking for you."

"Why is ANYBODY surprised that Sinead O’Connor is dead? Who cared enough to save Judy Garland, Whitney Houston, Amy Winehouse, Marilyn Monroe, Billie Holiday?" he questioned. "Where do you go when death can be the best outcome? Was this music madness worth Sinead's life? No, it wasn't. She was a challenge, and she couldn't be boxed-up, and she had the courage to speak when everyone else stayed safely silent. She was harassed simply for being herself. Her eyes finally closed in search of a soul she could call her own."

July 27 -- Details Emerge

The next day, ET confirmed more details about O'Connor's death, including that it was not being treated as suspicious.

British police found the singer "unresponsive" and "pronounced her dead at the scene" at her London home after they were called to the scene. The London Inner South Coroner's Court told ET that an autopsy was being conducted, but noted that the results could take "several weeks" to complete. An official cause of death had yet to be determined. 

August 3 -- Remains Released to Family

The follow month, it was announced that Sinéad O’Connor's remains had been released to her family. 

According to a report from The Irish Times, the clerk of the London Inner South district for Southwark Coroners Court said that an “autopsy was conducted to secure a medical cause of death” before the release of her body to her family. However, the results of the autopsy could take weeks to receive. 

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August 8 -- One Last Ride

Before a private funeral for the singer, a black hearse carrying O'Connor's coffin drove past her Ireland home as fans lined the streets for miles to pay respect. "We wish to thank Sinéad’s fans and admirers for the wonderful funeral procession they gave her past her old home in Bray and for the national and international outpouring of love and affection for Sinéad from the time of her passing," her family later said in part of a statement. "The prayers and thanks of the extended O’Connor family are with you all."

January 9 -- Cause of Death Revealed

Nearly six months after O'Connor's death, the London Inner South Coroner's Court confirmed to ET that the famed singer died of natural causes. Per the office, the coroner has ceased involvement in O'Connor's death.