Dolores O’Riordan drowned in hotel bath while intoxicated with alcohol, inquest told
Lead singer of The Cranberries was found dead in a hotel room in January
How O’Riordan died will be investigated during the hearing at Westminster Coroner’s Court. Photograph: EPA
Dolores O’Riordan’s mother Eileen O’Riordan leaving Westminster Coroner’s Court, London, after an inquest into the death of the Cranberries singe. Photograph: Kirsty O’Connor/PA
Cranberries singer Dolores O’Riordan drowned in the bath of a London hotel room last January while intoxicated with alcohol, an inquest concluded on Thursday.
Coroner Shirley Radcliffe said that, although O’Riordan had been diagnosed with bipolar affective disorder, she was being treated successfully for the condition and there was no evidence that she was feeling suicidal.
“There is no evidence that this was anything other than an accident. There was no intention, this seems to be solely a tragic accident,” she said.
The coroner listed the causes of death as drowning and alcohol intoxication.
A member of the housekeeping staff at the Park Lane Hilton found O’Riordan submerged in the bath on around 9am on the morning of January 15th. Police and ambulance service personnel were on the scene within minutes but attempts to revive the singer were unsuccessful.
PC Natalie Smart told the court that O’Riordan was wearing pyjama bottoms and a top and her nose and mouth were both below the water.
The singer had consumed five miniatures of spirits from the mini-bar and a half bottle of champagne and her blood alcohol level was more than four times the legal driving limit. There was evidence of heavy smoking and a whole pack of cigarettes had been smoked.
Some containers of prescription medicines were also found in the hotel room but a toxicology report found that she had not taken an excessive dose of any of them and all had been prescribed to her by her doctors.
Séamus Ó Ceallaigh, a consultant psychiatrist at St Patrick’s Hospital in Dublin saw O’Riordan in Dublin on January 9th, just six days before her death at the London Hilton on Park Lane. He told the coroner’s court that the singer had been in “good spirits” and had shown no signs of suicidal intent. He said she had responded very well to treatment for bipolar affective disorder.
O’Riordan had received residential treatment for alcohol abuse but continued to have intermittent episodes of excessive drinking. She was 46 when she died and would have turned 47 on Thursday.
The coroner noted that O’Riordan was “a hugely successful musician with a supportive family”. She had plans for the future, both personally and professionally, including two new albums.
Her mother Eileen was at Westminster Coroner’s Court for the inquest, along with O’Riordan’s brother and sister-in-law.
The inquest heard that the singer checked into the hotel on January 14th. She was in touch with room service at around midnight and phoned her mother at around 3am. She was later found unresponsive in the bathroom and confirmed dead at 9.16am.
In a statement issued after the hearing, the family of Ms O’Riordan said it remained “heartbroken” and missed her “every single day” and even more on Thursday which would have been her 47h birthday.
Issued to The Limerick Leader, the statement said while fans knew her as a hugely talented musician, her family knew her as a “loyal daughter, fun-loving sister and a dedicated mother to her children Taylor, Molly and Dakota”.
It said fame can “sometimes bring with it a heavy burden” and they wanted to acknowledge that her life was “not without challenges particularly in the past few years,” but she had been receiving the best professional help.
The family had taken comfort in the volume of love and respect from her legions of fans since her death.
In a separate statement, the band said: “On January 15th 2018 we lost our dear friend and band mate Dolores O’Riordan.
“Today we continue to struggle to come to terms with what happened.
“Our heartfelt condolences go out to Dolores’ children and her family and our thoughts are with them today. Dolores will live on eternally in her music. To see how much of a positive impact she had on people’s lives has been a source of great comfort to us.
“We’d like to say thank you to all of our fans for the outpouring of messages and their continued support during this very difficult time.
“We request, please, for our privacy to be respected at this time.”
The band enjoyed huge success in the 1990s with tracks including Zombie and Linger. O’Riordan — who was also a member of alternative rock group DARK — had been working on a new studio album with The Cranberries in the months before her death.
The mother-of-three had been in London to record a cover of Zombie with hard rock band Bad Wolves when she died. Sales and streams of The Cranberries’ back catalogue rocketed by 1,000 per cent in the days after her death. In 2014, O’Riordan split from her husband of 20 years, former Duran Duran tour manager Don Burton.