Obituary: Dolores O'Riordan, troubled lead singer for Irish rock band The Cranberries

Dolores O'Riordan, singer. Born: 6 September, 1971 in Ballybricken, Republic of Ireland. Died: 15 January, 2018, in London, aged 46.

Cranberries lead singer Dolores O'Riordan. Picture: AP Photo
Cranberries lead singer Dolores O'Riordan. Picture: AP Photo

Born and raised in County Limerick, Dolores O’Riordan was still in her teens when she answered an advert for a female singer for a rock band called The Cranberry Saw Us.

Having written her own songs since she was 12, she tried out for the group by showing off both her lilting vocals and her ability to pen melodies and words for their demos.

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Existing members Mike and Noel Hogan and Fergal ­Lawler snapped her up and together they became The Cranberries, increasingly becoming known for O’Riordan’s distinctive wailing voice.

One of the demos she had worked on for her audition was Linger, which gave The Cranberries a No 3 hit in ­Ireland in 1993 and proved to be their breakthrough track. More success followed with songs such as Salvation and Zombie, which scooped a ­coveted Ivor Novello Award.

They unveiled their debut studio album – entitled ­Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We? – in 1993 and it topped the charts.

Successful follow ups No Need To Argue and To the Faithful Departed came in 1994 and 1996, cementing the band’s status as a mainstream international rock band. To date the group has sold more than 40 million records.

But by 2003 it was time for a change and the band announced they were taking some time off to pursue other opportunities.

O’Riordan seized the opportunity to pursue a solo career and released the albums Are You Listening? (2007) and No Baggage (2009).

But while her musical ­ventures thrived, the singer was battling depression and mental health troubles in her personal life. In an interview in 2013 she said she had been abused as a child which later led to an eating disorder and a breakdown.

She said: “I had anorexia, then depression, a breakdown.

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“I knew why I hated myself. I knew why I loathed myself. I knew why I wanted to make myself disappear.”

O’Riordan married Don ­Burton, the former tour ­manager of Duran Duran, in 1994 and they had three ­children.

Her family, she said, were her “salvation”.

But there was more heartbreak ahead, with the singer losing her father in 2011 and her marriage coming to an end in 2014.

Two years later, O’Riordan was ordered to pay 6,000 euros to charity for headbutting, kicking, hitting and ­spitting on police officers ­following an alleged air rage incident.

The singer had previously admitted three assaults and obstructing a garda after being taken off an Aer Lingus flight from New York’s JFK to Ireland in November 2014.

Medical reports produced for the trial revealed she had been suffering from mania, mental illness and severely impaired judgement at the time, and that she remembered nothing about it.

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Last year she revealed she had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2015.

She told the Metro: “There are two ends of the spectrum – you can get extremely depressed and dark and lose interest in the things you love to do, then you can get super manic.

“I was at the hypomanic side of the spectrum on and off for a long period but generally you can only last at that end for around three months before you hit rock bottom and go down into depression. When you’re manic you don’t sleep and get very paranoid.”

The star said she was dealing with it with medication.

In another revealing interview O’Riordan told the Irish News that depression “whatever the cause, is one of the worst things to go through”, but that her family had given her happiness.

“I’ve also had a lot of joy in my life, especially with my children,” she said. “You get ups as well as downs. Sure, isn’t that what life’s all about?”