Sinéad O’Connor died of natural causes, a London coroner’s office said in a statement Tuesday. The finding apparently rules out the possibility that the Irish singer-songwriter died by suicide or drug overdose, contrary to widespread speculation among her fans after she was found unresponsive in a London home in July.
Best known for ’80s and ’90s pop hits such as her rendition of “Nothing Compares 2 U,” O’Connor was famous around the world for also speaking out about mental health and abortion and for protesting the sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. Her death at age 56 came a little more than a year after her teenage son, Shane, died by suicide in early 2022 — a tragedy that led to the singer being hospitalized after she threatened self-harm. Days before she died, O’Connor announced on social media that she was almost finished working on an album and planned to go on tour.
It’s still unclear how O’Connor died, but Tuesday’s coroner’s ruling excludes some of the most widely feared possibilities.
André Rebello, secretary for the Coroners’ Society of England and Wales, explained that “all deaths by suicide are ‘unnatural.’ Most deaths from natural causes are not reported to any coroner but if a coroner found natural causes it would never be a suicide.”
If someone dies of “natural causes,” this means that they did not die by suicide, or in an accident, or by a drug overdose, he said. Rebello stressed that he was talking generally, and not about any specific case.
The Southwark Coroner’s Court said it had no further comments about O’Connor’s death.
This article has been updated.