Irish singer Dolores O’Riordan (The Cranberries) was found unconscious in a bathtub at the Hilton Hotel on Park Lane, London, back in January. Now the coroner has confirmed that her death has been caused by accidental drowning.
Coroner Dr. Shirley Radcliffe delivered the verdict of accidental death due to alcohol intoxication, and said that it was a “tragic accident.”
The 46-year-old was discovered by a hotel maid who entered the room and found her immersed face-up in the bath wearing pyjamas and a long-sleeved shirt. Her entire face was underwater and tests later revealed her lungs had been waterlogged.
PC Natalie Smart, who was one of the first to enter the room, said there had been numerous attempts to revive O’Riordan, but they were all unsuccessful, and the singer was pronounced dead at 9:16am at the scene.
Following her tragic demise, tests revealed O’Riordan’s blood alcohol level was four times over the legal limit for driving at the time of her death. The inquest heard that five miniature bottles of alcohol and a 35cl bottle of champagne were found in her room. It’s also been reported that O’Riordan phoned her mother at approximately 3am on the morning of her death.
As for other substances, there was no evidence of drug use, only prescription medication which she took to treat her bipolar disorder. There was also no evidence of self harm and no suicide note was found.
The singer’s psychiatrist, Dr Seamus O’Ceallaigh described her condition as “in remission” and told the court she was in “good spirits” when he saw her just a week before her death, and that she was looking forward to the future.
Dr. O’Ceallaigh said he believed she had “suffered an episode of mania or elevated mood” and described an incident when during a difficult time, O’Riordan had become intoxicated and started writing a suicide note but later passed out before taking anything further.
He also stated that while she had maintained sobriety over long periods, he knew her use of alcohol was a high risk factor.
Also reporting was the singer’s US psychiatrist, Dr Robert Hirschfield, who stated that he understood she had given up alcohol and seemed to be doing well, although he mentioned that she had felt a little down over Christmas time.
In her summary, Dr Radcliffe said the singer – who was due to return to New York after visiting London, had been feeling positive about life and was looking forward to making new music, touring and visiting her three children in Canada. She had been in London to record a new version of the hit song “Zombie” with the heavy metal band Bad Wolves. Unfortunately, she never got to make that recording, and we’ll never get to hear it.
Dolores O’Riordan was remarkably successful in her musical career, and was also described as a “loyal daughter” and a “dedicated and loving mother” to her three children – Taylor (20), Molly (16) and Dakota (12). May you rest in peace, Dolores O’Riordan.
Story by Emily Clark
Featured Photo Credit: Boise State Public Radio