Six months after Sinéad O’Connor’s untimely passing in July, her cause of death has been revealed.
A London coroner’s office shared on Tuesday that the late Irish singer, who passed away aged 56, died of natural causes.
The beloved activist had been found dead at a residential property in London back in July, and a subsequent autopsy was administered. In a statement published by the New York Times, the coroner announced they had officially “ceased their involvement in her death.”
Born in Dublin on December 8, 1966, Sinéad in later years went by the name of Shuhada’ Sadaqat after converting to Islam in 2018.
Her untimely passing and subsequent tributes from fans and industry colleagues alike has continued to bring on renewed attention to her legacy, not only cemented in her powerful music, but particularly through her commitment to raising awareness about child abuse, organized religion, racism, and other causes.
Shortly after her breakthrough moment after including her rendition of Prince’s iconic ballad in her sophomore album, I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got, Sinéad’s 1992 performance on Saturday Night Live brought about not only a ban from the long-running NBC comedy show, but severe backlash across the globe.
She had just concluded singing an acapella performance of Bob Marley’s 1976 song “War,” when she brought up a photo of then Pope John Paul II, ripped it up to pieces, and said: “Fight the real enemy.”
The move was an effort to shed light on the rampant sexual abuse throughout the Roman Catholic Church, evidence of which has been continuously exposed in the decades since Sinéad’s once-shocking act; in 2001, the late John Paul himself apologized for the legion of cases of child sexual abuse by priests. She also explained that the photo had belonged to her mother, Johanna Marie O’Grady, who she previously said was deeply religious and both emotionally and physically abused her growing up. She died in a car crash when Sinéad was 18.
In a 2021 New York Times interview, recalling the aftermath of the incident, she declared: “I’m not sorry I did it. It was brilliant,” though she admitted: “But it was very traumatizing… It was open season on treating me like a crazy [expletive],” and noted: “It was a very lonesome, lonesome 10 years.”
Still, during an appearance on the Today Show the same year, she stood by her right to call out the Pope and the Catholic Church, explaining: “Not because I was famous or anything, but because I was a human being, I had a right to put my hand up and say what I felt.
“Ten years after the pope ripping episode, you all then found out in America that this was going on,” she noted, adding: “We always say Americans; they think nothing happened until they found out about it.”