The death of Sinéad O’Connor has left her admirers — including many fellow artists — mourning the sudden loss of a musical icon. News of the Irish singer’s death spread on Wednesday, after her family released a statement. O’Connor was 56 years old.
“It’s pretty devastating,” said friend Richard (Spike) Holifield, who played bass on O’Connor’s 1987 debut album The Lion and the Cobra, on CBC’s As It Happens.
Holifield said she could always be counted on to stand up for others — particularly those without a voice to do so.
“I’d never known Sinéad to defend a wrong, she’s always defended a right,” he said.
‘What a talent’
Ian Brown of the Stone Roses tweeted that getting the chance to collaborate with the Grammy winner and hear her sing his songs in a Dublin studio was “a highlight of my musical life.”
She was “a beautiful soul,” he said.
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Canada’s Bryan Adams addressed O’Connor directly in his own tribute.
“RIP Sinéad O’Connor,” Adams said on Twitter. “I loved working with you making photos, doing gigs in Ireland together and chats, all my love to your family.”
O’Connor skyrocketed to fame more than three decades ago, winning acclaim for her cover of Prince’s Nothing Compares 2 U.
“This is such a tragedy. What a loss. She was haunted all her life,” Melissa Etheridge said on Twitter, adding that she met O’Connor during her own first trip to the Grammy Awards, years ago.
“What a talent,” she said.
Britain’s Massive Attack said O’Connor’s powerful voice could bring a room to a standstill, even in a more informal setting.
“On the road every single person stopped — dropped their tools during soundcheck,” the band said in a statement posted on social media.
‘A force of nature’
Singer Tori Amos called O’Connor “a force of nature.”
“Such passion, such intense presence and a beautiful soul, who battled her own personal demons courageously,” Amos said. “Be at peace dear Sinéad, you will forever be in our hearts.”
Canadian songwriter Ron Sexsmith recalled opening for O’Connor, at a gig in Dublin, more than 25 years earlier. He remembered the kindness she showed her fellow musicians.
“She was very nice to my band and I,” he tweeted Wednesday, calling O’Connor’s passing “a huge loss.”
Journalist Victoria Mary Clarke said the news of O’Connor’s death was something that was hard to put into words for herself and her husband, Shane MacGowan, the lead singer of The Pogues.
Clarke said she and MacGowan thanked O’Connor for her love, friendship, compassion, humour “and your incredible music.”
As Billy Bragg, the English singer-songwriter, said Wednesday: “Sinéad O’Connor was braver than brave. May she rest in peace.”