Shuhada’ Sadaqat, who we all knew as acclaimed singer and activist Sinéad O’Connor, has passed away, aged 56.
Her family has shared a statement to Irish media confirming the news: “It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our beloved Sinéad. Her family and friends are devastated and have requested privacy at this very difficult time.”
During her career, the singer (who continued to perform as “Sinéad O’Connor” after converting to Islam and officially changing her name in 2018) released 10 albums, and was known for her incredibly beautiful and unique vocals.
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She was a multiple GRAMMY nominee and won in 1991 for Best Alternative Music Album, though she eventually boycotted the awards because she didn’t want her artistic ability to be defined by material success.
She made history at the 1990 MTV Video Music Awards when she became the first woman to win Video of The Year for the song ‘Nothing Compares 2 U’, a song originally written by Prince. In the iconic clip, etched in the memories of anyone who has ever seen it, she sported a shaved head, faced the camera for the entire video and had visible tears in her eyes.
She dedicated various award wins to refugees and regularly used her platform to speak up – about the Catholic Church, the Irish Constitution, feminism, HIV/AIDS, her own mental health and so much more.
Many remember her making headlines in 1992 when she made an appearance on Saturday Night Live and tore up a photo of Pope John Paul II.
She was, unquestionably, fearless.
In January 2022, Shuhada sadly announced the death of her 17-year-old son, Nevi’m Nesta Ali Shane O’Connor.
Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar perhaps said it best when he posted on the X platform today (formerly Twitter):
“Her music was loved around the world and her talent was unmatched and beyond compare.”
Beyond compare indeed.
(Feature Image Credit: Andrew Chin/Getty Images)