Irish bishop says Cranberries singer Dolores O'Riordan's music was heavily inspired by her spirituality

Irish singer Dolores O'Riordan, former lead singer of Irish band The Cranberries, performs on stage during a concert in Tirana, early June 20, 2007. | Reuters/Arben Celi

An Irish bishop has described Cranberries' frontwoman Dolores O'Riordan as a woman of soul and courage and said that her sudden death "is such a sad loss of a young and precious life."

O'Riordan, 46, was pronounced dead early on Monday at a hotel on Park Lane in central London. Her publicist said that the singer was on a short recording trip at the time, but declined to comment on the cause of death.

Bishop Brendan Leahy of Limerick said that O'Riordan had served as an inspiration to many people, especially to those in Limerick, where the singer honed her musical talent at a Catholic school in the 1980s.

"Her rise to stardom gave a huge amount of belief to young people locally at the time," Leahy said, noting that O'Riordan grew up in the neighboring Archdiocese of Cashel and Emly. "She never lost sight of who she was and where she was from," he added.

Leahy recalled that O'Riordan often spoke about the importance of spirituality in her life as well as in her music.

"She spoke of taking a lot of influence for her music from her spirituality. Limerick and the world has lost a kind, soft-hearted, talented soul," the bishop said, as reported by Catholic News Service.

Fr. James Walton, the O'Riordan family's parish priest, noted that the family was devastated and the community was shocked by her sudden death.

O'Riordan struggled with her fame as a naturally reserved singer and had often left her native Ireland for several years to avoid the spotlight.

Shortly after separating from her husband Don Burton in 2014, O'Riordan was arrested for attacking a police officer. The singer later pleaded guilty to headbutting and spitting at an Irish officer after an alleged air raid incident.

O'Riordan, who is survived by her three children, revealed in an interview that she had been diagnosed with a bipolar disorder and was struggling with the breakdown of her marriage.

According to Catholic News Service, O'Riordan had been named by her mother in honor of Our Lady of the Seven Dolors, or Sorrows.

Her mother reportedly wanted her to consider entering religious life, but even as a singer, O'Riordan was still able to make one of her mother's dream come true.

O'Riordan recounted in a recent interview how she was honored to be invited to sing at the Vatican on several occasions.

"I was chuffed to see inside the place. But one of the best things was taking my mum to meet the late Pope John Paul II. She was blown away. He was such a good man, very kind and I loved him," she said.

On at least one occasion, the singer spoke out against abortion, saying it "belittles" women who go through the procedure. "Every time a woman has an abortion, it just crushes her self-esteem, smaller and smaller and smaller," O'Riordan reportedly said.