Sinéad O'Connor Dies At Age 56 After Saying She 'Failed' Her 17-Year-Old Son Who Died By Suicide

Her death comes after years of mental health battles and tragically losing her son to suicide.

Sinead O'Connor, Shane O'Connor Matteo Chinellato / Shutterstock / Twitter

On July 26, 2023, the Irish Times reported that Sinéad O'Connor died at age 56.

The singer's death comes after years of battling mental health issues, reported abuse at the hands of her mother and most notably her son's tragic death just over a year before her own.

O'Connor’s son, Shane, was tragically found dead on January 7, 2022, in a death that has been declared a suicide.

Following the discovery of Shane’s body, O'Connor wrote in a tweet, “My beautiful son, Nevi'im Nesta Ali Shane O'Connor, the very light of my life, decided to end his earthly struggle today and is now with God. May he rest in peace and may no one follow his example. My baby. I love you so much. Please be at peace”


After Shane died by suicide there was an outpouring of support for the singer-songwriter. O'Connor had lashed out following the death of her son, primarily on Twitter as she seeks answers in a series of now mostly deleted tweets.


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Sinéad O'Connor's last tweet before her death was a tribute to her son.

In July 2023, Sinéad created a new Twitter profile that has since been deleted. A day before her death, her last tweets revealed the unfathomable grief she carried after her son's death.

"Been living as undead night creature since," she wrote in a tweet captured in screenshots by the DailyMail. "He was the love of my life, the lamp of my soul. We were one soul in two halves. He was the only person who ever loved me unconditionally. I am lost in the bardo without him."

She also posted a collection of song recommendations "for all mothers of suicided children."


Sinéad O'Connor blamed herself and the Irish state for her son's death by suicide.

In the since-deleted tweets, O'Connor railed against Ireland's government agencies and child protective services who she says were supposed to be watching her son. 

“26 hours after my son died in the so-called care of the Irish State in the form of Tusla, I have yet to receive any contact from Tusla or their representatives," she wrote, referring to the child and family agency, Tusla. "I was informed by Gardai [Irish police] of my son’s death and later I spoke with the GAL. No contact from Tusla is unacceptable.”

O’Connor clarified that her anger was with the greater Irish state after identifying her son, saying “I have now formally identified the remains of my son, Shane. May God forgive the Irish State for I never will.”

O’Connor’s Twitter crusade against the systems that she believed had failed her son lasted for hours in the immediate aftermath of his death.


Since then, the singer had deleted most of those tweets and most recently posted an apology, stating in a pinned tweet, “Ok, I’m gonna do the right thing here and apologise for my lashing out. Tusla are working with very limited resources. They loved Shane. They are broken hearted. They are human. I am sorry I have upset them.  We are a third world country. It’s not their fault.”

O’Connor turned her frustrations on herself at one point, saying, “FYI please don’t imagine I am less than keenly aware I failed my child, alongside Tusla and the HSE and the Irish State. And alongside others in his life who shall forever remain publicly nameless. We all know who we are. We all failed him. Welcome to Ireland.”

Clinical Hypnotherapist and Spiritual Life Coach Keya Murthy wrote of Sinéad O'Connor’s behavior following the loss of her son, “Blame is an expression of anger. Anger is how we process grief. First, you deny it and then you get angry at it. When you are in this anger stage of grief, you never know who it will be directed to.” Murthy also explained the magnitude of the pain and loss that Sinéad experienced, writing, “While trying to analyze Sinéad’s reactions, we forget she’s a human, a woman, and a mother… No one can say what she is going through unless they are a mother right here and now going through the same grief of losing a seventeen-year-old son to suicide.”

Sinéad didn't want to be remembered for her tragic past.

In a 2017 interview with Dr. Phil McGraw, Sinéad acknowledged her struggles but said she didn't want them to define her. 


“I am fed up of being defined as the crazy person, the child abuse survivor,” she said.

If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please seek help or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.

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Dan O'Reilly is a writer who covers news, politics, and social justice. Follow him on Twitter.