LONDON (AP) — Fans gather at singer Sinead O’Connor’s former hometown in Ireland to say goodbye ahead of her funeral.
O’Connor’s family invited the public to stand along the waterfront in Bray on Tuesday as her funeral procession passes by.
“Sinead loved life in Bray and the people in it,” said a statement from her family. “With this procession, her family would like to acknowledge the outpouring of love for her from the people of Wicklow (county) and beyond since she left last week to go to another place.”
Fans left handwritten notes at her former home thanking her for sharing her voice and her music. One sign listed causes for which the singer had expressed support, including welcoming refugees.
O’Connor, 56, was found unconscious at her London home on July 26. Police have not said how she died, although they said her death was not suspicious.
A multi-octave mezzo-soprano with an extraordinary emotional range recognizable by her shaven head, O’Connor began her career singing on the streets of Dublin and quickly achieved international acclaim.
She became a sensation in 1990 with her cover of Prince’s ballad “Nothing Compares 2 U”, which topped the charts from Europe to Australia.
She was a critic of the Roman Catholic Church long before allegations of sexual abuse became public knowledge. She made headlines in October 1992 when she ripped up a photo of Pope John Paul II while appearing on NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” and denounced the Church as the enemy.
She was public about her struggle with mental illness. When her teenage son Shane committed suicide last year, O’Connor tweeted that there was “no point living without him” and she was soon hospitalized. Her last tweet, sent on July 17, with the text “For all mothers of suicide children,” and coupled with a Tibetan compassion mantra.
Since her death, celebrities have paid tribute to her, and common people have shared her acts of kindness.
EDITOR’S NOTE — This story contains a discussion of suicide. The US suicide and crisis lifeline is available by calling or texting 988. There is also an online chat at 988lifeline.org. In the UK, the Samaritans can be reached on 116 123.