Asian fans mourn untimely death of rock icon Dolores O’Riordan
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Asian fans mourn untimely death of rock icon Dolores O’Riordan

FANS across Asia on Tuesday expressed shock and grief over the untimely death of Dolores O’Riordan, the lead singer of Irish rock group The Cranberries, which enjoyed a cult following in the region since its meteoric rise in the 1990s.

She died suddenly on Monday at the age of 46 during a recording trip to London, her publicist said. And while the cause of death was unclear, many fans took to social media to pay tribute to the rock icon.

O’Riordan’s distinctive Irish lilt and yodel helped fuel the Cranberries’ rapid rise in the early 1990s with global hits LingerĀ and Zombie. The band went on to sell over 40 million records to become Ireland’s second-best-selling rock band after U2.

According to fan site Cranberriesworld.com, the band performed dozens of shows in Asia and Oceania since 1995 when they first played a series of concerts in Japan Australia, and New Zealand for their “No Need to Argue” world tour.

In 1996 and 1997, the Cranberries came back to the region for their “Free To Decide” world tour, this time with more dates and countries covering Malaysia, China, Taiwan, Thailand, and the Philippines, among others.

The band also showed that they were frequent visitors to the Asia Pacific when they engaged in their “Wake up and Smell the Coffee” world tour in 2002, and again in 2011 and 2012 to celebrate their 20th anniversary as a group.

Irish President Michael D. Higgins described O’Riordan’s death as a big loss to Irish music, saying her influence was “immense”.

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But a naturally reserved singer, O’Riordan often struggled with fame, leaving her native Ireland for several years to avoid the spotlight. During her separation from her husband in 2014, she was arrested for attacking a police officer.

The singer’s publicist said she died during a short recording trip to London, but declined to comment on the cause of death.

“Family members are devastated to hear the breaking news and have requested privacy at this very difficult time,” the publicist, Lindsey Holmes, said in a statement. O’Riordan is survived by two daughters and a son.

Police in London said a woman in her 40s was pronounced dead early on Monday at a hotel on Park Lane in central London.

A spokesman said police were continuing inquiries into the death, which was being treated as “unexplained”. The woman had yet to be formally identified, he said.

Meteroric

The Cranberries shot to fame with their 1993 debut album Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We?Ā after the hit song LingerĀ was picked up by MTV. The band’s first three albums sold a combined 28 million copies.

But the strain on O’Riordan, who was so shy that she performed with her back to the audience during some early concerts, was also becoming clear, with the band cutting short a tour in 1996 citing exhaustion and disillusionment.

O’Riordan left The Cranberries in 2003 and recorded two solo albums, before the band reformed in 2009.

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She pleaded guilty to headbutting and spitting at an Irish police officer in 2014 following an alleged air rage incident.

Last year, The Cranberries cancelled a number of concerts in North America and Europe, saying O’Riordan was suffering from back problems.

British pop band Duran Duran, whose tour manager, Don Burton, was O’Riordan’s husband from 1994 until they separated in 2014 and was father to her children, tweeted that they were “crushed” by the news.

Irish singer Hozier said he was “shocked and saddened”.

“My first time hearing Dolores O’Riordan’s voice was unforgettable,” he said. “I’d never heard somebody use their instrument in that way.”

Additional reporting by Reuters