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Fans, musicians mourn death of Dolores O‘Riordan

The Cranberries lead singer died in London on Monday at the age of 46.

Lead singer of Irish rock group The Cranberries Dolores O‘Riordan. Picture: cranberries.com

JOHANNESBURG – Fans and fellow musicians have shared their sadness at the death of Dolores O‘Riordan, lead singer of Irish group The Cranberries.

It was announced on Monday that O’Riordan (46) had died suddenly while in London for a short recording session.

Reuters reported that police in London stated that a woman in her 40s was pronounced dead early on Monday at a hotel on Park Lane in central London.

A spokesman said police were continuing inquiries into the death, which was being treated as “unexplained”.

O‘Riordan is survived by two daughters and a son. Her family issued a brief statement in which they said they were devastated and requested privacy at this very difficult time.

Her fellow band members also shared their sadness on her passing, saying “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.”

O‘Riordan’s distinctive Irish lilt and yodel helped fuel the Cranberries’ rapid rise in the early 1990s with global hits Linger and Zombie. The band went on to sell over 40 million records to become Ireland’s second-best-selling rock band after U2.

Shortly after the news of O‘Riordan’s death, Irish President Michael D Higgins described as a big loss to Irish music, saying her influence was “immense”.

“It is with great sadness that I have learned of the death of Dolores O’Riordan, musician, singer and songwriter. 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.”

The Cranberries shot to fame with their 1993 debut album Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We? after the hit song _Linger _was picked up by MTV. The band’s first three albums sold a combined 28 million copies.

But the strain on O‘Riordan, who was so shy that she performed with her back to the audience during some early concerts, was also becoming clear, with the band cutting short a tour in 1996 citing exhaustion and disillusionment.

O‘Riordan left the Cranberries in 2003 and recorded two solo albums, before the band reformed in 2009.

She pleaded guilty to headbutting and spitting at an Irish police officer in 2014 following an alleged air rage incident.

Last year the Cranberries cancelled a number of concerts in North America and Europe, saying O‘Riordan was suffering from back problems.

British pop band Duran Duran, whose tour manager, Don Burton, was O‘Riordan’s husband from 1994 until they separated in 2014 and was father to her children, said in a Twitter post that they were “crushed” by the news.

Irish singer Hozier said he was “shocked and saddened”.

Other celebrities who reacted to her death included Josh Groban and James Corden, while fans expressed their sadness on Twitter.

Meanwhile, NME is reporting that The Cranberries' music has experienced a big increase in sales following news of Dolores O’Riordan's death.

Overnight, the band’s albums flooded the Amazon chart – with the band’s final album with O’Riordan, last year’s Something Else, seeing a boost of 913,350%.

It says the Irish band’s biggest hits – including Linger, Zombie and Dreams – all ranked in the top 10 of the iTunes songs chart.

Additional reporting by Reuters.