Dolores O'Riordan Biography

Songwriter, Singer (1971–2018)
Dolores O'Riordan was the Irish lead singer of the 90s alt rock band the Cranberries.

Who Was Dolores O'Riordan?

Born in Limerick, Ireland in 1971, lead singer Dolores O'Riordan brought the Cranberries worldwide fame in the 1990s, using her soothing and at times, ferocious Celtic-influenced vocals. With her signature pixie cut, the singer/songwriter helped the alt rock band climb the international music charts with hits like "Dreams," "Linger" and "Zombie." Although she took a break to pursue her solo career starting in 2003, she reunited with the band six years later. A massive influence in the rock and pop scene in Ireland, O'Riordan died in a tragic accident at the age of 46 on January 15, 2018.

Dolores O'Riordan Photo

Dolores O'Riordan of The Cranberries, circa 2001. 

Cause of Death

On September 6, 2018, after months of investigative inquiry, authorities announced that O'Riordan — whose body was found submerged in a bath at the Park Lane Hilton in London on January 15, 2018 — had accidentally "died by drowning due to alcohol intoxication," as reported by the BBC.

"I saw Mrs O'Riordan submerged in the bath with her nose and mouth fully under the water," said one investigator who was at the scene when the singer's body was found.

Toxicology reports showed that O'Riordan had four times the amount of alcohol in her system than the legal limit.

O'Riordan was visiting London at the time for a recording session. She was found dead in her hotel room just after 9 a.m. on January 15, 2018. After an initial investigation, authorities stated they were not treating O'Riordan's death as suspicious.

Upon hearing the tragic news, band members Noel Hogan, Fergal Lawler, and Mike Hogan released a tweet as a tribute to O'Riordan:

As part of an initial statement announcing her death, the Cranberries' Facebook fan page included that "family members are devastated to hear the breaking news and have requested privacy at this very difficult time."

Raised Catholic, O'Riordan had her funeral in Ireland.

The Cranberries

Answering an ad from a local rock band who was looking for a lead singer, O'Riordan became front woman to The Cranberry Saw Us in 1990. The band eventually changed its name to the Cranberries, and together, with its alt rock grunge-filled sound and O'Riordan as lead singer and songwriter, the group catapulted to international fame. 

MTV played the band's single "Dreams" on loop, helping it build a massive fan base, before it released its 1993 debut album Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can't We?, which included one of the band's most famous tracks "Linger." 

Four more albums were to follow: No Need to Argue (1994), which included their hit "Zombie" — a song about death, war, love and disappointment — and two years later came To the Faithful Departed (1996). In 1999 Bury the Hatchet was released followed by Wake Up and Smell the Coffee (2001). Before the band took a break in 2003, it issued a greatest-hits compilation the year prior entitled Stars: The Best of 1992–2002.

As of 2018, the Cranberries has sold more than 40 albums worldwide.

Health and Mental Issues

The huge success of the Cranberries made O'Riordan one of the richest women in Ireland for a period of time, but she dealt with various health and mental problems throughout her career.  

In 2014 O'Riordan pleaded guilty to assaulting police officers and a flight attendant on an Aer Lingus flight from New York to Ireland, with court records revealing she was suffering from mental health issues. She later admitted to various news outlets that she had bipolar disorder and depression.

In 2017 the Cranberries released the acoustic album, Something Else, with an accompanying tour throughout Europe and North America, but because of O'Riordan's severe back pain, the band had to cut their performances short.

Solo Career

After leading the Cranberries for 13 years, O'Riordan took a break from the band to pursue other projects. She appeared in other musicians' albums before releasing her first solo album Are You Listening in 2007. Two years later, she released her final solo album No Baggage (2009) before reuniting with the band that same year.

Other Projects: D.A.R.K.

In 2014 O'Riordan formed a trio with The Smiths' Andy Rourke and Ole Koretsky, calling themselves D.A.R.K. in 2016 the trio released their album Science Agrees.


Dolores Mary Eileen O'Riordan was born on September 6, 1971 in Limerick, Ireland. She was the youngest of seven children, born to parents Terence and Eileen O'Riordan.

Personal Life

O'Riordan married former Duran Duran manager Don Burton in 1994. The couple had three children together before divorcing in 2014. 

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