Cranberries singer Dolores O'Riordan dies at 46

Irish singer Dolores O'Riordan of Irish band The Cranberries performs on stage during the 23th edition of the Cognac Blues Passion festival in Cognac on July 07, 2016. (Photo by Guillame Souvant/AFP/Getty Images)

TORONTO -- Dolores O'Riordan, lead singer of the Cranberries who split her time between Ireland and a remote town in Ontario, has died at 46.  

Publicist Lindsey Holmes says O'Riordan died suddenly Monday in London, where she was recording. The cause of death wasn't immediately available. Holmes says the singer's family is "devastated" by the news.

The Limerick, Ireland band became international stars in the 1990s starting with Linger off their debut album Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can't We? and Zombie from their second release.

O'Riordan was the Cranberries' chief lyricist and co-songwriter, and her powerful, sometimes wailing voice was key to the band's distinctive sound, blending alternative rock edge and Celtic-infused pop tunefulness.

Their popularity was a quick transition from playing bars and clubs and opening for the likes of Duran Duran, Radiohead and Suede.

The band released three more studio albums before splitting up in 2003. O'Riordan released a solo album, Are You Listening, in 2007, and another, No Baggage, in 2009.

In a 2009 interview with The Canadian Press, O'Riordan said part of the decision to go on hiatus from the band rested on the pressures of celebrity.

"I was so young when I got so famous and then I kind of put up a wall around myself, I didn't really want to show people any fragilities or fears, I was trying to be this tough person that I felt was expected of me," she said.

"It's important to take time off because it's a long journey this life, and I want to be singing in 30 years time. You see a lot of artists who get caught up in the here and now, and they just burn themselves out, and I kind of did that myself with my third album."

O'Riordan, her former husband Don Burton, their two kids and a child from Burton's previous relationship spent years splitting their time between Ireland and a cottage north of Peterborough, Ont., which is about 90 minutes northeast of Toronto.

"What's amazing is -- I actually have problems getting it into my head -- Canada is so big, right? And Ireland's small you know; you drive from coast to coast in three hours. You can really get lost here, and I like that," she said.

"The seasons are so dramatic here -- from the snow in the winter to the beauty of the autumn, the colours of the leaves falling -- so I have a piano outside my window and sometimes I start off there with ideas, just using nature as a backdrop."

The Cranberries released the acoustic album Something Else in 2017 and had been due to tour Europe and North America. But a number of dates were cancelled, including one in Toronto, as O'Riordan struggled with persistent back problems.

In 2014, O'Riordan made headlines after she was accused of assaulting three police officers and a flight attendant during a flight from New York to Ireland. She pleaded guilty and was fined 6,000 euros ($6,600). Medical records given to the court indicated she was mentally ill at the time of the altercation. After her court hearing O'Riordan urged other people suffering mental illness to seek help.

She and Burton, a Canadian who previously worked as Duran Duran's tour manager, separated that same year.