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Sinéad O’Connor Remembered: Jamie Lee Curtis, Tegan and Sara, and More Pay Tribute

The Irish singer-songwriter died at the age of 56

Sinéad O’Connor’s family confirmed earlier today, July 26, that the Irish singer and songwriter died at age 56. O’Connor’s bold public stances on child abuse, war, and organized religion had made her a controversial figure throughout her career, while her music and uncompromising character also inspired generations of women to challenge the status quo.

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Following the news of her death, Jamie Lee Curtis, Tegan and Sara, and more shared heartfelt tributes and personal memories of O’Connor.

“I came home and have been listening to Sinéad’s music. ‘Feels so different.’ ‘Three Babies.’ ‘Black Boys On Mopeds.’ ‘The Last Day Of Our Acquaintance.’ ‘Red Football.’ ‘In This Heart.’ It alternates between heartbreak and wailing and incredible harmonies and rage and passion and love,” wrote Curtis on Instagram, while sharing a photo she took of O’Connor and Marianne Faithfull at an Eminem concert. “I went into my deep photo negative archive to see if that Eminem concert at that festival in Ireland, where I heard her sing earlier in the day, if I had taken a photograph that included her. I had but never printed it, because Marianne Faithfull’s eyes are closed. And there she is. Staring straight at me. Piercing and at the same time wide-open.”

Tegan and Sara shared a video from the last concert they attended before the Covid-19 lockdown, featuring a video of O’Connor singing in early 2020. “This was the last concert we saw in Feb 2020. A month later we went into lockdown. Lifelong dream to see her, and we sang our hearts out,” the pair shared. “Can’t express what an absolutely massive impact Sinead O’Connor had on us from childhood through adulthood. Her voice, her brain, her bravery. ❤️”

Melissa Etheridge remembered the “small shy Irish girl” she met at her first Grammy show, writing, “This is such a tragedy. What a loss. She was haunted all her life. What a talent.”

Massive Attack, who worked with O’Connor on their 100th Window album, also penned a tribute. “Devastated. How do you eulogise someone that you never knew well, but were blessed to have the honour of working with,” the group said. “Honestly. To bear witness to her voice, intimately in the studio. On the road every single person stopped—dropped their tools during soundcheck. The fire in her eyes made you understand that her activism was a soulful reflex & not a political gesture.”

Smashing Pumpkins’s Billy Corgan wrote on Instagram, “Fiercely honest and sweet and funny, she was talented in ways I’m not sure she completely understood. But Sinead stands alone as a figure from our generation who was always true to the piercing voice within and without. And for that I will always admire and respect her. And never forget that she was once cancelled for an act of simple resistance. Her crime? Tearing up a photo.”

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