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Sinéad O’Connor, the defiant music artist who tore Pope John Paul II’s photo on national TV, passes at 56

Irish singer Sinéad O’Connor, who became infamous for ripping up the photo of Pope John Paul II on Saturday Night Live (SNL) in 1992, has passed away at the age of 56.

“It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our beloved Sinéad. Her family and friends are devastated and have requested privacy at this very difficult time,” said the singer’s family in a statement last Wednesday, July 26 (GMT).

O’Connor rose to prominence after she released a rendition of Prince’s “Nothing Compares 2 U” for her second studio album “I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got in 1990,” topping the charts worldwide and earning her four Grammy nominations.

However, her fame was cut short in 1992, during the promotion of her third studio album “Am I Not Your Girl?” on SNL, the singer rip up a photo of Pope John Paul II to protest against the coverup of the Catholic Church of the child sex abuse in Ireland.


The singer gained major backlash over her action – and was even banned for life from SNL – which affected her uprising music career.

O’Connor continued to release seven more albums; Universal Mother in 1994; Faith and Courage in 2000; Sean-Nós Nua in 2002; Throw Down Your Arms in 2005; Theology in 2007; How About I Be Me (and You Be You)? in 2012; and I’m Not Bossy, I’m the Boss in 2014 – all of which, not reaching the same commercial success as her 1990 album.

In 2018, the singer announced her conversion to Islam, changing her name to Shuhada’ Sadaqat.

Early this July, the singer shared that she moved back to London after 23 years and is planning to release an album early next year and a tour in 2025.

The cause of death of the singer has not been disclosed by the family.


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