Friday 21 September 2018

Comment: Fame's demons drove tragic Dolores onto list of rock-and-roll's victims

Cranberries star Dolores O’Riordan died suddenly in January while she was in London for a short recording session. REUTERS
Cranberries star Dolores O’Riordan died suddenly in January while she was in London for a short recording session. REUTERS
Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

FAR from the glitz and glamour of the celebrity rock world, the final tragic chapter for Dolores O’Riordan was written in a nondescript London office block.

The Limerick singer now joins a tragic list of hugely talented stars who departed this world far, far too young.

The list spans decades but in recent years alone, these tragic superstar names include Prince (2016), Michael Jackson (2009), Whitney Houston (2012) and Heath Ledger (2008).

Ms O’Riordan had two new solo albums in the pipeline and also had exciting future plans for her family and adored children.

But yesterday Westminster Coroner’s Court heard that she drowned in the bath of her plush London hotel last January while more than four times over the drink driving limit.

She died alone, wearing a pyjama bottoms and a vest – with empty miniature bottles from her hotel minibar scattered around the bedroom.

4/10/13 The Cranberrie's Dolores O'Riordan new coach on The Voice, at the Late Late show at RTE in Dublin. Picture:Arthur Carron/Collins
4/10/13 The Cranberrie's Dolores O'Riordan new coach on The Voice, at the Late Late show at RTE in Dublin. Picture:Arthur Carron/Collins
Dolores O'Riordan during the Semi Finals of The Voice of Ireland in The Helix
The Cranberries Dolores O'Riordan with her Mum Eileen in Bruff Co Limerick .
Camera: DCS520C Serial #: K520C-05286 Width: 1152 Height: 1728 Date: 30/11/2002 Time: 7:50:22 DCS5XX Image FW Ver: 3.2.3 TIFF Image Look: Product Antialiasing Filter: Removed Counter: [105135] ISO Speed: 800 Aperture: f2.8 Shutter: 1/20 Max Aperture: f2.8 Min Aperture: f32 Exposure Mode: Manual (M) Compensation: +0.0 Flash Compensation: +0.0 Meter Mode: Evaluative Flash Mode: No flash Drive Mode: Continuous Focus Mode: AI Servo Focus Point: Auto Focal Length (mm): 75 White balance: Auto Time: 07:50:22.632
Camera: DCS520C Serial #: K520C-05286 Width: 1728 Height: 1152 Date: 30/11/2002 Time: 7:52:48 DCS5XX Image FW Ver: 3.2.3 TIFF Image Look: Product Antialiasing Filter: Removed Counter: [105173] ISO Speed: 800 Aperture: f2.8 Shutter: 1/60 Max Aperture: f2.8 Min Aperture: f32 Exposure Mode: Manual (M) Compensation: +0.0 Flash Compensation: +0.0 Meter Mode: Evaluative Flash Mode: No flash Drive Mode: Continuous Focus Mode: AI Servo Focus Point: Auto Focal Length (mm): 145 White balance: Auto Time: 07:52:48.170
Dolores O'Riordan PICTURE BY DAVID CONACHY.
Dolores O'Riordan of the Cranberries pictured at the Meteor Awards in 2002 PICTURE COLIN KEEGAN, COLLINS, DUBLIN.
24/10/01 DOLORES O'RIORDAN OF THE CRANBERRIES PICTURED IN DUBLIN THIS AFTERNOON...PICTURE COLIN KEEGAN, COLLINSA, DUBLIN.
Dolores O'Riordan at a press conference in 2000 PIC:MARC O'SULLIVAN/COLLINS/DUBLIN
Dolores O'Riordan at the Heineken Green Energy Festival in 2000 PICTURE:COLLINS DUBLIN...
Dolores O'Riordan prior to an appearance on the Late Late Show in 1999 PICTURE COLIN KEEGAN, COLLINS, DUBLIN.
Dolores O'Riordan, at her wedding to Don Burton in 1994.Photo: RollingNews.ie

Bravely battling personal demons including depression and alcohol addiction, the mother of three had relapsed during a short trip to Canada and began drinking again.

The relapse came after she appeared to have turned the chaos of her life around after a spell in an addiction treatment centre.

She opened the minibar in Room 2005 of the Hilton at Park Lane at 2am on January 1 – and was found dead at 9am when a shocked maid opened the door, which was locked from the inside, to clean the room.

If anything underlined the tragic cost of fame, it was the proceedings before Coroner Dr Shirley Radcliffe yesterday.

Dolores O'Riordan's family at her inquest in London Photo: Mark Condren
Dolores O'Riordan's family at her inquest in London Photo: Mark Condren

The inquest hearing concluded after just 45 minutes.

Only two witnesses gave direct evidence, one of them Irish psychiatrist Dr Seamas O’Ceallaigh to whom Ms O’Riordan turned for help in battling depression and addiction.

Around the nearby streets, locals and tourists alike whipped out smartphones to photograph the media and the crowded scene.

One Chinese tourist approached the media and, in broken English, asked if someone famous was nearby?

It was perhaps the ultimate reflection of the celebrity-obsessed modern world.

Ms O’Riordan, while hugely talented and with a voice instantly recognisable throughout the globe, always struggled to cope with the personal demands of celebrity.

Intensely private and happiest with her devoted Limerick family, the singer always struggled to cope with the unceasing demands of the celebrity profile that came with her incredible talent.

It appears that, for support and to escape from the unrelenting pressures of the celebrity merry-go round, she made the fateful decision to turn to alcohol.

The brief inquest opened with a touching pen picture of Ms O’Riordan who, Coroner Dr Radcliffe was told, struggled to cope with “the heavy burden” that fame can often exert.

To many, the singer was a pop and rock icon. But she was first and foremost a mother, a daughter and a sister.

That was perhaps reflected in the attendance yesterday in the small, first-floor room of the Tachbrook Street office.

It was clear as the family left a Tachbrook Street packed with reporters, photographers,

One of O’Riordan’s most famous and beloved songs with The Cranberries was ‘Linger’, written about an unrequited teenage romance in Limerick.

Yesterday, the only thing that lingered in London SWI was a sense of tragedy, not just over a huge talent taken far too soon, but of a family left to try and cope with a heartbreaking and utterly avoidable loss.

Irish Independent

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