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Passings: Dolores O'Riordan of the Cranberries (1971 - 2018)

by VVN Music

Dolores O'Riordan, the lead singer of the Cranberries, has died "suddenly" in London at the age of 46. She was in the city for a recording session.

Her publicist, Lindsey Holmes, said "Irish and international singer Dolores O’Riordan has died suddenly in London today. Family members are devastated to hear the breaking news and have requested privacy at this very difficult time."

No cause of death has been announced.

O'Riordan was born in Country Limerick, Ireland.  In 1990, she auditioned for The Cranberry Saw Us, which had been formed the previous year, by writing lyrics to some existing demos. The band recorded an EP, Nothing Left at All, which was released on the small Xeric Records and signed with the record company's owner for management.

Changing their names to The Cranberries, they signed with Island Records but early recordings for the label were scrapped.  Bringing in a new manager and producer, they recorded their debut album Everybody Else is Doing It, So Why Can't We? which included the songs "Dreams" and "Linger". When they were first release, they didn't do overly well but, after touring with Suede, MTV put the songs into heavy rotation and rereleases brought them international success.

They followed in 1994 with No Need to Argue which included "Zombie" and "Ode to My Family" and, two years later, The the Faithfully Departed which contained "Salvation" and "Free to Decide" but a cancelled tour for the latter album fueled speculation that O'Riordan was about to break out on her own.

Those rumors did not pan out and the band recorded two more albums, Bury the Hatchet (1999) and Wake Up and Smell the Coffee (2001) before taking a hiatus starting in late 2003.  O'Riordan started working with other artists and released two solo albums, Are You Listening? (2007) and No Baggage (2009) along with guest appearances on a number of projects.

In January 2009, the members of the Cranberries got together to celebrate O'Riordan becoming an honorary patron of the University Philosophical Society of Trinity College in Dublin and, by summer, they had decided to reunite for a tour playing the group's music along with songs from Dolores' No Baggage.

Since then, they have recorded two additional albums, Roses (2012) and Something Else (2017), which re-imagined a number of older Cranberries songs in an acoustic setting. A tour in support of the album was cut short when O'Riordan had health problems.

O'Riordan also had legal problems in 2014 when she was charged with being unruly on an Air Lingus flight, including the assault of a air hostess and a policeman.

Dolores recorded a final project with the group D.A.R.K. which also included Andy Rourke of the Smiths and Ole Koretsky.

President Michael D. Higgins of Ireland said "It is with great sadness that I have learned of the death of Dolores O’Riordan, musician, singer and song writer."

"Dolores O’Riordan and The Cranberries had an immense influence on rock and pop music in Ireland and internationally. I recall with fondness the late Limerick TD Jim Kemmy’s introduction of her and The Cranberries to me, and the pride he and so many others took in their successes.

"To all those who follow and support Irish music, Irish musicians and the performing arts her death will be a big loss."

Update: Dolores' bandmates have released the following statement:

We are devastated on the passing of our friend Dolores. She was an extraordinary talent and we feel very privileged to have been part of her life from 1989 when we started the Cranberries. The world has lost a true artist today.

Noel, Mike and Fergal