Dolores O'Riordan, Cranberries lead singer, dead in London at 46

Dolores O'Riordan, lead singer of Irish band the Cranberries, has died at age 46 in London, where she was recording.

Performer had travelled to Toronto over recent holiday season to visit her children

Irish singer Dolores O'Riordan of Irish band The Cranberries, seen performing in 2016 in France, has died at the age of 46. (Guillaume Souvant/AFP/Getty Images)

Dolores O'Riordan, lead singer of Irish band the Cranberries, has died at age 46.

O'Riordan died in London, where she was recording, publicist Lindsey Holmes said. The cause of death wasn't immediately available.

Holmes said the singer's family is devastated by the news.

O'Riordan had travelled to Toronto over this past holiday season to visit her children.

Irish President Michael D. Higgins said O'Riordan and the band "had an immense influence on rock and pop music in Ireland and internationally."

"To all those who follow and support Irish music, Irish musicians and the performing arts, her death will be a big loss," he said in a statement.

Musical peers and fans also paid tribute to the singer. The members of Duran Duran said they were "crushed" to hear of her passing, while Irish singer-songwriter Hozier recalled O'Riordan's memorable voice.

"My first time hearing Dolores O'Riordan's voice was unforgettable," Hozier posted on social media. "It threw into question what a voice could sound like in that context of rock. I'd never heard somebody use their instrument in that way."

O'Riordan was The Cranberries' chief lyricist and co-songwriter, and her powerful, sometimes wailing, voice was key to the band's distinctive sound.

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.

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

The band announced plans for a hiatus in 2003 to focus on their solo careers.

'I kind of put up a wall'

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

Dolores O'Riordan talks about the spotlight

28 years ago
Duration 0:28
Dolores O'Riordan, the lead singer of The Cranberries, talks about performing on stage.

"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 and their children 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."

More recent music

O'Riordan produced two solo albums, Are You Listening? in 2007 and No Baggage in 2009. The members of The Cranberries reunited that year, releasing the album Roses in 2012.

O'Riordan, seated, appears in Paris in 2012 with her Cranberries bandmates, from left, bassist Mike Hogan, drummer Fergal Lawler and guitar player Noel Hogan. (Joel Saget/AFP/Getty Images)

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 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 the equivalent of about $10,000.

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

With files from CBC News